Jessie Duarte: Ours is not a shithole country
During a meeting on immigration, US President Donald Trump is reported to have said, “Why do we want all these people from Africa here? They’re shithole countries."
Trump questioned why the US would accept more immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador or countries in Africa, reportedly using the term 'shithole countries'.
Duarte told reporters that developing countries do have difficulties, but that the US itself has millions of people out of work or without healthcare.
“Ours is not a shithole country, neither is Haiti or any other country in distress. It is extremely offensive for President Trump to make statements about other countries that are really not complimentary of the US’s position or policy positions of those countries.”
WATCH: Duarte reacts to Trump's comments
She says the governing party will not deign to make comments as derogatory as Trump's.
The US president has tweeted in response to criticism, implying that he did not use the term as reported.
Trump says while he did use tough language at a meeting on immigration, that specific language was not used.
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
Trump’s remarks, made in the White House, came as Democratic Senator Dick Durbin and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham briefed the president on a newly drafted immigration bill being touted by a bipartisan group of senators, according to the sources, who asked not to be identified.
....countries which are doing badly. I want a merit based system of immigration and people who will help take our country to the next level. I want safety and security for our people. I want to stop the massive inflow of drugs. I want to fund our military, not do a Dem defund....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
Other government officials were present during the conversation, the sources said.
The lawmakers were describing how certain immigration programmes operate, including one to give safe haven in the United States to people from countries suffering from natural disasters or civil strife.
One of the sources who was briefed on the conversation said that Trump said, “Why do we want all these people from Africa here? They’re shithole countries ... We should have more people from Norway.”
The Democrats seem intent on having people and drugs pour into our country from the Southern Border, risking thousands of lives in the process. It is my duty to protect the lives and safety of all Americans. We must build a Great Wall, think Merit and end Lottery & Chain. USA!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
The second source familiar with the conversation, said Trump, who has vowed to clamp down on illegal immigration, also questioned the need for Haitians in the United States.
Many Democrats and some Republican lawmakers slammed the president for his remarks.
Additional reporting by Reuters.
(Edited by Shimoney Regter)