MIAMI (CBSMiami) – President Donald Trump arrived in West Palm Beach Friday evening to a small group of supporters.
“We felt like we should support Trump because we are all conservatives because we are Latinos we want to show that everybody that not only white people are here but every race is here,” said one supporter.
This as Florida lawmakers are outraged that President Trump used an expletive to describe Haiti and several other countries during an Oval Office meeting on immigration reform.
During the Thursday afternoon meeting, lawmakers floated the idea of restoring Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for some immigrants in exchange for ending the visa lottery. When a lawmaker brought up Haiti, Trump apparently grew frustrated and asked why we would want people from Haiti in the U.S. and asked why we want more Africans.
“Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?” Trump asked.
Trump then suggested that the U.S. admit more people from countries like Norway.
Last year, the Trump administration announced it would end the TPS designation for Haiti, a move that would affect tens of thousands of Haitian immigrants in the states.
Florida’s lawmakers said they were shocked and alarmed by the president’s racist remarks.
“Trump’s vile comments are outrageous, unacceptable and continue a disturbing pattern of racist remarks. He repeatedly sews seeds of racism which foment horrendous, discriminatory actions. No American can be proud of a President who speaks this way,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in a statement.
“The statements of the president are reprehensible, they’re racist, they’re totally incorrect,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. “Talking about Haiti saying it’s a s*** country, it fits a pattern of racist statements. This is a man who made his name in the political world doubting Obama’s citizenship, saying he was born in Kenya, and started his campaign saying Mexicans are rapists and criminals, banning all Muslims temporarily from the U.S., slow to condemn racists like David Duke, in Charlottesville when there was white racists against other folks he was saying there was blame on both sides. No there wasn’t.”
“Not only has Donald Trump revealed himself to be an insensitive, bigoted racist to people and countries of color, today he reminded us that he will lie to the American public to save face. I am a former school principal who continues to be immersed in the lives of children and am at a loss about how to explain to them how a president of the united states can be so cruel and callous toward black and brown people. I am embarrassed and outraged on behalf of my Haitian, Salvadoran and African constituents who are stunned and disturbed by the racist in the White House.” said Rep. Frederica Wilson in a statement.
“Our country has been built by the toil of immigrants. Donald Trump’s reported bigoted remarks are disgraceful and embarrassing. He should apologize immediately and work with Republicans and Democrats to fix the DACA crisis that threatens the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent DREAMers that call America their home,” said Rep. Lois Frankel in a statement.
Senator Marco Rubio did not directly address the president’s remark. Instead, he took to Twitter to say that the decision to allow someone to immigrate to the U.S. should be based on who they are and not where they come from.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart who attended the immigration meeting has also not commented on the president’s remark. His office did, however, issue the following statement.
“There are almost 800,000 young DACA beneficiaries who will face imminent deportation in March if we do not reach a deal. I will not be diverted from all possible efforts to continue negotiating to stop the deportations. Nothing will divert my focus to stop the deportation of these innocent people whose futures are at stake.”
Governor Rick Scott, a Trump supporter, denounced the president’s remarks.
“If this report is true, it is absolutely wrong to say or think this,” the governor’s statement read. “I do not think this way, nor do I agree with this kind of sentiment. I represent Florida, and we are an amazing melting pot where over 250 languages are spoken.”
“I work every day to make this the most welcoming state for everyone – Haitians, Cubans, Venezuelans, and others from all around the world that call Florida home. I’m incredibly proud of our diversity.”
Florida’s first Haitian-American state Representative from South Florida remembers Trump’s 2016 campaign stop in Little Haiti where he promised he would be their champion if elected.
“And now you call us “s***holes.” This is, you know, what Trump doesn’t understand, immigrants make the country great. He’s talking about how he’s going to make America great, but it’s the immigrants that make America great,” said Rep. Daphne Campbell.
She says she wants the president out if he doesn’t apologize for what she calls painful, unacceptable statements about Haiti, El Salvador, and Africa.
“If he refuses to do it, he needs to resign. He needs to resign, simple as that. I don’t think he needs impeachment. I don’t think he needs anything. It’s fairness. Enough is enough. He just needs to give his resignation as the president,” said Campbell.
“It was like he was trying to channel Archie Bunker without the charm and it was quite upsetting,” said Archbishop Thomas Wenski from the Archdiocese of Miami.
Wenski said he was disappointed, especially remembering how Trump courted Haitian-American voters during the campaign.
“Whether you vote for me or don’t vote for me, I really want to be your greatest champion and I will be your champion,” Wenski recalled Trump saying during the campaign. “That is the president breaking his promise. When he promised Haitians in Miami that he would be their champion and Haiti needs a champion.”
Several Florida lawmakers took to Twitter to express their thoughts.
Under no circumstances is it acceptable to degrade, denigrate, or dehumanize #TPS immigrants. The White House must immediately explain the situation and leave no doubt regarding what was said and in what context.
— Rep. Carlos Curbelo (@RepCurbelo) January 11, 2018
If the White House will not deny the reports regarding the degradation of other nations and their peoples, it is necessary for the President to apologize immediately. That’s the least he can do.
— Carlos Curbelo (@carloslcurbelo) January 12, 2018
The President should represent all of the people, not just some selected favorites, and should treat others with respect and dignity. These are American values and this White House has strayed from them. https://t.co/TLSaL1yBze
— Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) January 12, 2018
President Trump’s comments about Haiti and African countries were offensive and below the dignity of the office of the President. His ignorant, misguided view of the world was on full display tonight. https://t.co/Loo1sUtWe3
— Alcee L. Hastings (@RepHastingsFL) January 12, 2018
These repulsive comments are inexcusable, disrespectful and so far below the office of the President of the United States. Shameful slurs like this offend our friends and diminish our standing in the world. https://t.co/Qlcfroo08Q
— Rep. Ted Deutch (@RepTedDeutch) January 12, 2018
When asked, the White House did not deny the president’s reported remarks. Trump, however, did on Twitter.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
On Friday, he backtracked even further.
Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said “take them out.” Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
The Haitian government has summoned the top-ranking U.S. diplomat to explain the president’s comment.