Sunday, January 14, 2018

Global Condemnation for Trump's Latest Ignorant and Racist Comments

U.S. President Donald Trump recently ignited an international firestorm of outrage and condemnation when he called Haiti, El Salvador and African nations “shithole countries.”

Following are responses from around the globe to Trump's comments.


These are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States. I’m sorry, but there’s no other word one can use but “racist.”

You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as “shitholes,” whose entire populations are not white are therefore not welcome. [Trump’s] positive comment on Norway makes the underlying sentiment very clear.

Like [Trump’s] earlier comments made vilifying Mexicans and Muslims, the policy proposals targeting entire groups on grounds of nationality or religion, and the reluctance to clearly condemn the anti-semitic and racist actions of the white supremacists in Charlottesville, all of these go against the universal values the world has been striving so hard to establish since World War Two and the Holocaust.

This isn’t just a story about vulgar language, it’s about opening the door to humanity’s worst side. It’s about validating and encouraging racism and xenophobia that will potentially disrupt and even destroy the lives of many people, and that’s perhaps the single most damaging and dangerous consequence of this type of comment by a major political figure.

– Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the
UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights

Excerpted from “UN Statement on Trump ‘S***hole’ Comments, in Full
The Independent
January 12, 2018

Donald Trump has been branded a shocking and shameful racist after it was credibly reported he had described African nations, as well as Haiti and El Salvador as “shitholes” and questioned why so many of their citizens had ever been permitted to enter America.

U.S. diplomats around the world were summoned for formal reproach, amid global shock that such crude remarks could ever be made in a semi-public meeting by the president of the United States.

In a strongly-worded statement, the United Nations said it was impossible to describe his remarks as anything other than racist, while the Vatican decried Trump’s words as “particularly harsh and offensive”.

The 55-nation African Union said the remarks were “clearly racist”.

Trump initially allowed reported accounts of his comments to go unchallenged, but went into damage limitation mode on Friday, insisting he had not used derogatory words – but admitting that the language he had used at a meeting with Senators on immigration was “tough.”

But the democratic senator Dick Durbin – who was present at the meeting with Trump on Thursday – insisted that the reports were entirely accurate.

He said “those hate-filled things and did so repeatedly.”

“Shithole was the exact word used once not twice but repeatedly,” Durbin said, adding that the word was specifically used in the context of African countries.

– Patrick Wintour, Jason Burke and Anna Livsey
Excerpted from “‘There’s No Other Word But Racist’:
Trump's Global Rebuke for ‘Shithole’ Remark

The Guardian
January 13, 2018

I am not ashamed of the country where I was born. I am not ashamed to call myself an American now. I am a proud immigrant, refugee, Minnesotan and a proud State Legislator.

But make no mistake, I am ashamed, disturbed, and outraged that the leader of the United States can’t see beyond his own embarrassing privilege to embrace the diversity that has made this country great for generations.

– MN State Representative Ilhan Omar (DFL-Minneapolis)
January 11, 2018

The President’s comments today are horrifying and truly deplorable. It saddens me to my heart to see our country misrepresented like this.

The time for neutrality and silence is long over – anyone who doesn’t stand with this nonsense must stand firmly together against it now.

– St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter III
January 11, 2018

We subscribe to the words of James Baldwin, “Ignorance allied with power is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” Mr. Trump’s comments are woefully racist, ignorant, xenophobic, and inflammatory. Racism is undeniably evil. The evil of racism is always incapable of critiquing itself; therefore, it must be condemned whenever and wherever it arises. Racism is a question of power and not merely attitude. The President harbors these racist views and has the power to implement policy that subjugates poor people and people of color to oppressive systems and structures. His haphazard pronouncements and unmitigated power is problematic for the nation and world. Mr. Trump has repeatedly demonstrated himself unknowledgeable about the history of this country and the contributions of the children of the African Diaspora brutally enslaved and brought to these shores as well as those who have immigrated here, particularly Haitians whose benefaction is woven into the very fiber of our nation.

We vehemently condemn the racist comments of Mr. Trump. We cannot remain silent amid the horrid neglect and lack of concern for our sisters and brothers maligned throughout the world. Globally millions of immigrants are fleeing despicable and life-threatening situations. We have a moral and Christian responsibility to be supportive as they escape political, cultural, and social threats in their native homelands. Mr. Trump’s maleficence toward our sisters and brothers in Haiti and African nations is antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is contradictory to the universal, unconditional love of God for all people.

My response to President Trump is total condemnation. It was a very racist remark, which shed light on earlier decisions that he had – that have been made by the administration – for example, about temporary protected status being eliminated for Haitians and Salvadorans, and his remark, as reported by The New York Times, about all Haitians having AIDS. It seems like, once again, Haiti is being used as a foil, and he is baiting his bait and feeding them — Haiti as red meat.

And it’s extremely sad that it happened also in the shadow of this day. Today was going to be an extraordinarily sad day for many of us, anyway, who lost our family members, who lost our friends, in the devastating earthquake [of 2010]. So this is even more salt on our wounds. Not surprising, because of the nature of this presidency and the way this president conducts himself, but it is a terrible slight. It’s completely racist, especially the way that he paralleled Haiti and Africa, which is a continent, not a country – someone should tell him – and describing them in this manner and contrasting them to Norway.

Countries like El Salvador and Haiti are in terrible condition in large part because of long histories of American support for right-wing dictatorships and crony capitalism. And why would anyone in Norway give up their social benefits – universal health care on a single payer system, no college tuition, and the like – to come to the U.S., which has none of it?

Mae M. Ngai
via Facebook
January 12, 2018

President Trump’s characterization of Africa, Haiti and El Salvador as “shitholes” disturbed me, but I wasn’t sure why. The comments were made during a discussion about the temporary protected status for hundreds of thousands of Salvadoran, Haitian and other immigrants Trump had just rescinded. In search for an answer, I went home and pulled out and studied my boots , which were tattered after too many visits to mass graves, mass graves with the remains of Salvadorans—in El Salvador, in Mexico and in the deserts of south Texas. Wearing my hiking boots during visits to numerous sites along this chain of devalued life led me to the conclusion that mass graves were the ultimate shitholes.

What made me most uncomfortable was less about Mr. Trump’s choice of word than how he used it: he mistook the shithole part for the whole country. Trump’s rhetorical fallacy feels like a cover-up, a distraction from the fact that El Salvador’s mass graves contain fingerprints and other evidence that point to the United States as an accomplice to the mass murder and violence that created them. Viewed from this perspective, Trump’s “shithole” comment said in words what all US presidents have said with their policies towards countries like Haiti and El Salvador.

Consider, for example, the Salvadoran case of El Mozote, the site of the massacre of almost a thousand peasants, a crime whose irresolution still haunts many. Some 37 years after the mass massacre, forensic evidence from mass graves proved that 553 of those victims were children, many of them under six years old.

El Mozote is the best documented of El Salvador’s thousands of mass graves, many of which remain unexcavated. Forensic experts with El Salvador’s Institute for Legal Medicine and the world renown Argentine forensic team told me that their evidence – bones, shoe marks, hair samples, bullet shells – of the mass killing at El Mozote pointed to elite Salvadoran soldiers trained in places like Fort Bragg and Fort Benning, Georgia, formerly known as the notorious “School of the Americas.” Evidence from recent Salvadoran and international court cases corroborates this. The boots, bullets, weapons, helicopters and uniforms used during the massacre were all Made in the U.S.A. And the evidence trail isn’t limited to El Mozote.

– Roberto Lovato
Excerpted from “El Salvador’s Worst Shitholes
Are ‘Made in America’

Latino Rebels
January 12, 2018

Good people don’t refer to entire countries as “shitholes” – most notably countries that have given birth to our very humanity; ones that for hundreds of years have been colonized and poached and mined of their riches by powerful white men; countries whose people have been enslaved and sold and forced to come and build your country.

Good people by any measurement we might use – simply don’t say such things.

. . . But this President is simply not a good human being, and there’s simply no way around this truth.

He is the ugliest personification of the Ugly American, which is why, as long as he is here and as long as he represents this nation, we will be a fractured mess and a global embarrassment. He will be the ever lowering bar of our legacy in the world.

And what is painfully obvious in these moments, isn’t simply that the person alleging to lead this country is a terrible human being – it is that anyone left still defending him, applauding him, justifying him, amening him, probably is too.

At this point, the only reason left to support this President, is that he reflects your hateful heart;he shares your contempt of people of color, your hostility toward outsiders, your ignorant bigotry, your feeling of supremacy.

A white President calling countries filled with people of color shitholes, is so far beyond the pale, so beneath decency, and so blatantly racist that it shouldn’t merit conversation. It should be universally condemned. Humanity should be in agreement in abhorring it.

And yet today (like so many other seemingly rock bottom days in the past twelve months) they will be out there: white people claiming to be good people and Christian people, who will make excuses for him or debate his motives or diminish the damage.

They will dig their heels in to explain away or to defend, what at the end of the day is simply a bad human being saying the things that bad human beings say because their hearts harbor very bad things.

No, good people don’t call countries filled with beautiful, creative, loving men and women shitholes.

And good people don’t defend people who do.

You’re going to have to make a choice here.

– John Pavlovitz
Excerpted from “Good People Don’t Defend A Bad Man
January 12, 2018

I have lost patience with the shock supposedly well-meaning people express every time Mr. Trump says or does something terrible but well in character. I don’t have any hope to offer. I am not going to turn this into a teaching moment to justify the existence of millions of Haitian or African or El Salvadoran people because of the gleeful, unchecked racism of a world leader. I am not going to make people feel better about the gilded idea of America that becomes more and more compromised and impoverished with each passing day of the Trump presidency.

This is a painful, uncomfortable moment. Instead of trying to get past this moment, we should sit with it, wrap ourselves in the sorrow, distress and humiliation of it. We need to sit with the discomfort of the president of the United States referring to several countries as “shitholes” during a meeting, a meeting that continued after his comments. No one is coming to save us. Before we can figure out how to save ourselves from this travesty, we need to sit with that, too.

– Roxane Gay
Excerpted from “No One Is Coming to Save Us From Trump’s Racism
The New York Times
January 11, 2018

Far too many people are surprised by your racism, [Mr. President,] which is as ignorant as it is blatant. This is confusing because you’ve made no secret of your attitudes.

You started this political trip by insisting that America’s first black president wasn’t really American, despite all evidence to the contrary. You seem driven by an irrational hatred of everything Obama: you even blamed him on Thursday for building a new US embassy in London, even though the decision was taken by his white Republican predecessor. You campaigned against Mexico by peddling the libel that the country was sending its criminals and rapists to America. You now want to kick out 200,000 immigrants from El Salvador who keep the economy humming in your new hometown of Washington.

When neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville, carrying torches and shouting about racial purity, you said they were good people. You endorsed the Britain First brand of neo-Nazism by sharing its racist lies on Twitter.

With a depressing frequency, you have made it clear that you are literally a neo-Nazi sympathizer. If at some stage you promote eugenics on Twitter, we will save a few letters on our character counts and simply call you a neo-Nazi.

– Richard Wolffe
Excerpted from “‘Shithole Countries’?
Words Worthy of a Racist-in-Chief

The Guardian
January 13, 2018

President Donald Trump has called Africa a shithole. How America elected a narcissist, racist, white supremacist to be their president defies logic. Africa sends love and light to America.

– Boniface Mwangi
via Twitter
January 11, 2018

Related Off-site Links:
Trump Decries Immigrants from "Shithole Countries" Coming to U.S. – Eli Watkins and Abby Phillip (CNN, January 12, 2018).
"There's No Other Word But Racist": Trump's Global Rebuke for "Shithole" Remark – Patrick Wintour, Jason Burke and Anna Livsey (The Guardian, January 13, 2018).
"Reprehensible and Racist": Trump’s Remarks Outrage Africans – Cara Anna (The Associated Press, January 12, 2018).
"Racist" and "Shameful": How Other Countries Are Responding to Trump's Slur – Colin Dwyer (NPR News, January 12, 2018).
This Is How Ignorant You Have to Be to Call Haiti a "Shithole" – Jonathan M. Katz (The Washington Post, January 12, 2018).
The US Role in Turning Countries Into Shitholes and Provoking Immigration – Juan Cole (Informed Comment, January 12, 2018).
Your Response to Trump’s Racist ‘Shithole’ Comment Will Be Remembered – Rex Huppke (Chicago Tribune, January 11, 2018).

UPDATE: Cory Booker Lashes Into DHS’s Kirstjen Nielsen: “Your Silence and Your Amnesia Is Complicity” – Shira Tarlo (Salon, January 16, 2018).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Trump's America: Normalized White Supremacy and a Rising Tide of Racist Violence
In Charlottesville, the Face of Terrorism In the U.S.
2000+ Take to the Streets of Minneapolis to Express Solidarity with Immigrants and Refugees
On International Human Rights Day, Saying "No" to Donald Trump and His Fascist Agenda
Progressive Perspectives on the Election of Donald Trump as President
Progressive Perspectives on the Rise of Donald Trump
Trump's Playbook


Kathleen Olsen said...

Thanks for these beautiful, articulate brothers and sisters' voices who will put a fire in the belly of us who need to put an end to this presidency.

Rita Quigley said...

Thanks for these voices of reason and outrage.

Franco Manni said...

yes.... Very sadly this does not happen in my country (Italy) where now fascism is coming back again but there are not voices of reason and outrage ... there is the sickness but there are not the antibodies....