Donald Trump’s racist comments has had swift blowback around the world.
Remarks by Donald Trump describing immigrants from Africa and Haiti as coming from “shithole countries” were racist, the United Nations human rights office has said, as it led global condemnation of the US president.
The UN human rights spokesman, Rupert Colville, told a Geneva news briefing: “There is no other word one can use but racist. You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’, whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome.”
Across Africa there was diplomatic fury. Botswana’s government called Trump’s comment “reprehensible and racist” and said the US ambassador had been summoned to clarify whether the nation was regarded as a “shithole” country after years of cordial relations. Uganda’s state minister for international relations, Henry Okello Oryem, called the remarks “unfortunate and regrettable”.
The African Union said it was alarmed by Trump’s language. “Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behaviour and practice,” its spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo told Associated Press.
“This is particularly surprising as the United States of America remains a global example of how migration gave birth to a nation built on strong values of diversity and opportunity.”
Trump’s has long salivated over the possibility of going to London for a full state visit and riding with the Queen in a carriage like the Obamas did but that has been put on hold because of fears of widespread protests. He had planned to go there next month for a brief low-key visit to declare open a new US embassy but that too was cancelled today because of fears of mass protests.
Trump seems to have realized that he has gone to far in his racism and is now denying that he used those words at a meeting with members of congress and that they are a partisan attack, even though his spokesperson had not denied them and Democratic senator Dick Durbin and Republican senators Jeff Flake and Lindsey Graham confirmed his use of the words. But since Trump is a confirmed liar in addition to being a confirmed racist, nobody but his most die-hard supporters will believe his denials.
Trump’s plaintive question as to why we weren’t getting more Norwegians (last year there were just 500 who came to the US) has been ridiculed by them.
Christian Christensen, an American professor of journalism at Stockholm University in neighboring Sweden, tweeted:
“Of course people from #Norway would love to move to a country where people are far more likely to be shot, live in poverty, get no healthcare because they’re poor, get no paid parental leave or subsidized daycare and see fewer women in political power. #Shithole”
Other countries also took the chance to make the point that the US is hardly a paradise.
Jessie Duarte, the deputy secretary general of South Africa’s ruling ANC, said: “Ours is not a shithole country; neither is Haiti or any other country in distress. It’s not as if the United States doesn’t have problems. There is unemployment in the US, there are people who don’t have healthcare services.”
And former Mexican president Vincente Fox was characteristically blunt and caustic,
Jon Schwarz reminds us of the deep debt that the US owes to Haiti because it was the repeated uprisings by the Haitian people against their extremely cruel French colonial rulers that weakend France and resulted in them offering the Louisiana purchase, a fact that has been largely forgotten or ignored.
It was just four days ago that columnist David Brooks was saying that people who have a really low opinion of Trump would be surprised by how well he conducts meetings. “[P]eople who go into the White House to have a meeting with President Trump usually leave pleasantly surprised. They find that Trump is not the raving madman they expected from his tweetstorms or the media coverage. They generally say that he is affable, if repetitive. He runs a normal, good meeting and seems well-informed enough to get by.
That column sure had a short shelf-life.
Trevor Noah, who comes from one of the countries denigrated by Trump, responds to the comments.