Trump’s ‘<snip>hole’ comment about Haiti lends credence to report he said Haitians ‘all have AIDS’
Three weeks ago, the New York Times reported that President Trump had said something hugely offensive about Haitians – that they “all have AIDS” – in a June meeting about immigration. The White House strenuously denied it, and the fact that the story landed on Dec. 23 helped it escape scandal proportions.
Trump won’t be so fortunate with his latest comments on Haiti.
The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey is reporting that Trump made a similar comment about wanting more immigrants from places like Norway rather than from “<snip>hole counties” like Haiti and those in Africa.
“Why are we having all these people from <snip>hole countries come here?” he told lawmakers during a meeting in the Oval Office on Thursday, according to two people briefing on the session. And this time, the White House isn't even denying it.
The comments represent the latest evidence that Trump views certain countries' inhabitants as less desirable than others. And after his move to ban travel from certain majority-Muslim countries, it won’t escape anyone that he’s now playing up the idea that we need more immigrants from places like Norway (which is overwhelmingly white) rather than Haiti and Africa (which are overwhelmingly black).
Trump’s defenders will likely argue that it’s more about how educated the country’s populaces are and the value their immigrants could bring to the United States. Haiti and countries in Africa certainly lag behind the rest of the world by almost any measure. Haiti ranks as one of the world's least-developed countries, according to the United Nations.
But if anything, Trump’s comment Thursday about Haiti lends credence to the Times’s report that Trump singled out the country for that particularly offensive treatment back in June. Trump added in that June meeting that immigrants from Nigeria, once they saw the United States, would never “go back to their huts,” according to the Times. Is it really any surprise that he again focused his comments on African countries and Haiti, out of all the countries in the world? (Trump also singled out El Salvador for derision on Thursday.)
Picking Trump's most offensive comment out of everything he's said over the last three years is a difficult task. There was the time he criticized prisoners of war like John McCain for getting captured. There were the many things he has said about women's appearances and about grabbing them by the "p---y." He made a reference to his genitalia at a presidential debate (lest we forget)
But these comments are sure to draw almost universal -- and international -- condemnation. And the fact that Trump feels comfortable making such remarks behind closed doors with lawmakers makes you wonder what else he's said behind closed doors.
I asked Trump a blunt question: Do you read?
January 4 at 7:19 PM
Michael Wolff’s tantalizing takedown of President Trump’s White House is so tightly packed with tales of political convulsion and personal betrayal that official Washington will be buzzing off its sugar high for weeks. But after the shock of Wolff’s account of Trump’s willful ignorance and intellectual incoherence fades, Americans will be left with the inescapable conclusion that the president is not capable of fulfilling his duties as commander in chief.
The GOP’s defense of this indefensible president appears even more preposterous following Wolff’s revelation, in his new book, “Fire and Fury,” of former adviser Stephen K. Bannon’s observation that members of Trump’s team, including his son, committed nothing less than treason. (Disclosure: I am thanked in the book’s acknowledgments and make an appearance in a handful of passages.) Republican politicians who have spent the past year eagerly wading through the slimy political backwash churned up by Trumpism will look even more foolish aping the former reality star’s attacks on the special counsel. Despite their desperate declarations that the Vietnam War hero is dragging his feet, Robert S. Mueller III has proved himself ruthlessly efficient in rooting out public corruption.
In just the past two months, the president’s first national security adviser and most trusted traveling companion pleaded guilty to federal charges; he is now cooperating with Mueller’s investigation. Trump’s campaign manager through the Republican National Convention was also arrested, charged and released only after posting $10 million in bail. A man Trump identified as one of his top foreign policy advisers has also pleaded guilty in federal court and is cooperating with the feds. Another Trump campaign aide was charged in a 12-count indictment. And with the release of “Fire and Fury,” we now know that yet another campaign official for the Republican president — one who subsequently served in his White House — believes that close Trump advisers were “treasonous” to meet with Russians during the campaign.
A cancer again is growing on the presidency, and few know whether the 45th president will survive a single term. Bannon has his doubts. “He’s not going to make it,” Bannon told Breitbart staffers, according to Wolff. “He’s lost his stuff.” But if Trump does escape legal prosecution, Wolff’s terrifying political tome adds weight to a growing body of evidence that the Manhattan billionaire is temperamentally unfit to serve. An email Wolff describes as “purporting to represent the views” of chief economic adviser Gary Cohn neatly summarizes what campaign workers and White House staff have been telling me about Trump for two years. He is an “idiot surrounded by clowns. Trump won’t read anything — not one-page memos, not the brief policy papers; nothing. He gets up halfway through meetings with world leaders because he is bored. And his staff is no better.”
Mika Brzezinski and I had a tense meeting with Trump following what I considered to be a bumbling debate performance in September 2015. I asked the candidate a blunt question.
“Can you read?”
“I’m serious, Donald. Do you read?” I continued. “If someone wrote you a one-page paper on a policy, could you read it?”
Taken aback, Trump quietly responded that he could while holding up a Bible given to him by his mother. He then joked that he read it all the time.
I am apparently not the only one who has questioned the president’s ability to focus on the written word. “Trump didn’t read,” Wolff writes. “He didn’t really even skim. If it was print, it might as well not exist. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semiliterate. Others concluded that he didn’t read because he didn’t have to . . . He was postliterate — total television.” But “Fire and Fury” reveals that White House staff and Cabinet members believed Trump’s intellectual challenges went well beyond having a limited reading list: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called him an “idiot,” Cohn dismissed him as “dumb,” national security adviser H.R. McMaster considered him a “dope,” and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson infamously concluded that the commander in chief was a “moron.”
We are a nation that spent the past 100 years inventing the modern age, winning World War I, defeating Hitler and winning World War II, and liberating half of Europe by beating the Soviets in the Cold War. But today we find ourselves dangerously adrift at home and disconnected from the allies abroad that made so many of those triumphs possible. The world wonders how the United States will survive Donald Trump. And I ask, what will finally move Republicans to deliver a non-negotiable ultimatum to this unstable president? Will they dare place their country’s interests above their own political fears? Or will they move to end this American tragedy only when there is nothing left to lose?
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