Donald Trump’s “Shithole” Comments refer to United States President Donald Trump’s alleged assertion that Haiti, El Salvador and African countries are “shithole countries.” The reaction to President Trump’s remarks were largely negative, from the public, the media, law makers and world leaders. President Trump has since denied making the comments.
On September 5th, 2017, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the president would be rescinding the Obama-era DACA program, which protects undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, known as Dreamers, from deportation. This gave congress until March 5th, 2018 to legalize DACA or else those protections would be lifted. Over the next few months, DACA was used as part of negotiatians for such immigration policies as border security and the Trump-proposed Mexican border wall.
During such negotiatians on January 12th, 2018, President Trump invited representatives from congress to discuss a bipartisan immigration deal. When the prospect of protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries, the president reportedly said, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
According to people familiar with the meeting, Trump continued that the U.S. should bring in more immigrants from countries, like Norway, before saying, “Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.”
Following Trump’s alleged remarks, many online denounced his assertion to that those countries are “shitholes.” On Twitter, many people said that this was another example of President Trump’s perceived attitudes towards non-white people (examples below). Some went on to say, “Trump is a racist.”
That day, Redditor xxxDubsxxx posted a video in the /r/PublicFreakout subreddit of former CIA counterterrorism official Philip Mudd denouncing the president’s comments, stating that this type of hostility toward immigrants is something that his family dealt with as Italian and Irish immigrants in the early 20th century. The post received more than 60,000 points (80% upvoted) and 7,700 comments in 15 hours. The video (shown below) was also shared by Redditor DestinyPvEGal in the /r/MurderedByWords subreddit, where it received more than 19,000 points (81% upvoted) and 1,800 comments in 12 hours.
Trump’s comments made the frontpage of several other subreddits. Redditor billndotnet’s thread on the comments in the /r/politics subreddit received more than 56,000 points (85% upvoted) and 14,000 comments. Redditor pipsdontsqueak’s thread in the /r/worldnews subreddit received more than 60,000 points (76% upvoted) and 13,000 comments in 18 hours.
That day, on “/r/The_Donald” subreddit, Redditor carpedonktum posted a Daily Struggle variation, featuring the options “Those Countries Aren’t Shitholes” and “Illegal Aliens Can’t Go Home Because Their Country Is a Shithole.” The post (shown below) received more than 13,000 points (83% upvoted) and 600 comments in 13 hours.
Virtually every major news outlet covered Trump’s comments, including CNN, The New York Times Uproxx and more.
For their January 12th cover, the New York Daily News put an image of Donald Trump as a poop emoji on the cover with the headline “S**T FOR BRAINS: Trump spews vicious slur against immigrants.”
That night, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson defended the president’s alleged remarks. He said, “President Trump said something that almost every single person in America actually agrees with. An awful lot of immigrants come from this country from other places that aren’t very nice. Those places are dangerous, they’re dirty, they’re corrupt, and they’re poor and that’s the main reason those immigrants are trying to come here and you would too if you live there.”
“The President of the United States is Racist”
That night, CNN anchor Don Lemon opened the show he hosts, CNN Tonight, by saying “The President of the United States is racist.” The comments went viral and were discussed at length on social media. Twitter published a Moments page regarding the response to Lemon’s broadcast.
That night, former Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe tweeted, “The world is witnessing a new low today with this #ShitholeNations remark! totally unacceptable! uncalled for moreover it shows a lack a respect and IGNORANCE never seen before in the recent history of the US by any President! Enough is enough!!” The post (shown below) received more than 1,900 retweets and 4,500 likes in less than 24 hours.
On January 12th, President Trump denied making such remarks. He tweeted, “The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA!” The post (shown below) received more than 12,000 retweets and 48,000 likes in less than six hours.
Following Trump’s denial, Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois who attended the meeting said that thre president not only used the term, but also said it “repeatedly, during the course of the meeting on immigration,” according to the New York Times. Of Trump’s denial, Durbin said, “It’s not true. He said these hate-filled things and he said them repeatedly.”