During a bipartisan White House meeting on Thursday, members of Congress asked Trump to consider upholding protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and a handful of African countries to help strike a deal on immigration. According to the Washington Post, he shot the idea down, and then some.
"Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump reportedly said, adding that the US should be looking for more immigrants from countries like Norway.
Before the president flat-out denied the quote on Friday, the story tore through Twitter, got the word "shithole" printed in the New York Times (a first), and quickly became the only thing anyone wanted to talk about on cable news. CNN's Don Lemon, for example, didn't mince words.
Anderson Cooper echoed Lemon's take, calling Trump's comments "not racial, not racially charged," but "racist." He even choked up on-air while speaking about his time reporting in Haiti in the wake of the earthquake that devastated the country in 2010.Even the host of one of Trump's favorite shows, Fox & Friends, criticized the president's comment, saying he should "walk it back."
FOX's Tucker Carlson, on the other hand, doubled down on the president's comments, saying the countries he mentioned are "dangerous," "dirty," and "poor."
Late-night hosts had a field day riffing on the quote. The Daily Show's Trevor Noah, who's South African, had particularly strong grounds for going after the president.
On Late Night, Seth Meyers had to actually walk away from his desk.
Jimmy Kimmel wondered if the whole thing could have even happened, because if it had, "it would mean we voted for a racist."
Perhaps Stephen Colbert summed up the fiasco best: "Sir, they’re not shitholes," he said on The Late Show Thursday. "For one thing, Donald Trump is not their president.”
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