It has been widely reported that the president privately told some members of Congress that the U.S. should limit immigration from countries he referred to as “shitholes”.
A few facts:
He really did say it. The only Democrat in the room reported what the president said and at least one Republican senator (Lindsey Graham) confirmed the story. Shortly after the meeting, White House staff defended the president’s statement, and even suggested that his “base” would approve of what he said.
It’s unlikely that we would have heard about this if there hadn’t been a Democrat in the room, which should make us wonder what other opinions the president is privately expressing.
What he said is consistent with other stupid, racist remarks he’s made (for example, all Haitians have AIDS and Nigerians mainly live in huts) and actions he’s taken as president (such as ending protections for immigrants and their children and trying to prohibit Muslims from traveling here).
The president’s defenders are trying to make this a story about mere “locker room” or “kitchen table” talk, just like they did when the “grab ’em by the pussy” tape was made public.
They’re also trying to make it a story about the quality of life in these countries (“The president was just being honest. Would you liberals be willing to live in Haiti or Somalia? Why do people want to leave those countries?”).
The fact that the president used vulgar language has resulted in this story getting more attention than it otherwise would have received.
But the most important part of this story isn’t that he swore at a meeting in the White House. It’s that he vehemently believes that people from some countries would make better Americans than people from other countries. That’s been a popular view in some quarters since the 19th century. But it should be anathema to anyone who understands what it means to be an American and what the promise of America has meant to struggling people around the world.
Our first president wrote this in a letter in 1788:
I had always hoped that this land might become a safe & agreeable Asylum to the virtuous & persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong…
Our current president is beneath contempt and needs to go.