Of all of the outlandish and shocking things Donald Trump has said in his first year you the presidency, his “sh*thole” remark may be the most hotly contended. On Thursday afternoon while discussing the bipartisan immigration deal in an Oval Office meeting, the president asked “Why are we having all these people from sh*thole countries come here?” when presented with protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries.
Trump’s words, which were not denied by the White House, reportedly even left Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) taken aback, and were later condemned by Haiti’s ambassador to the U.S., as well as a disgusted Don Lemon and emotional Anderson Cooper. If there was ever a time for the president to apologize for his remarks this would be it, but anyone waiting for an apology can probably hold their breath.
In an early Friday morning tweetstorm, Trump defended his position on DACA, and by proxy, his remarks. He started off by slamming the “so-called bipartisan DACA deal” presented to him yesterday, calling it a “big step backwards.” He continued, condemning a lottery system and calling for a merit-based system of immigration.
Trump then made his most perplexing remark yet, which seemed to both confirm and deny his choice of words during the immigration meeting. “The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough,” the president wrote. “But this was not the language used…”
So he said it or he didn’t say it? Who even knows at this point. There’s a good chance even Trump himself doesn’t know what he meant.
Update #1 – 8:48 a.m.: Trump tweets a hard dental that he ever said anything derogatory about Haiti. As CNN’s Jake Tapper points out in a Twitter thread, Trump apparently did not actually use the term “sh*thole” about Haiti specifically, but did still refer to African countries that way.
Update #2 – 10:30 a.m. Deadline reports that Trump spent much of Thursday night “phoning allies” to find out how his “sh*thole remark” was being hashed out in the press.