President Denies Disparaging Haiti, African Countries

The President is denying he used the language attributed to him by sources and one high-profile on-the-record Democrat in a meeting about countries—Haiti and in Africa--the President was reportedly not eager to see immigrants coming from.

He did reportedly like the idea of more Norwegians, which was being branded as racist.

The Washington Post story on the DACA meeting where the aterm “shithole countries”--was allegedly used--the Post and CNN both confirmed with sources that that was the case and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) who was in the meeting confirmed use of the term as well--created a situation where news outlets were finding themselves using language they try to avoid. Wolf Blitzer was using s-hole, which sounded a lot like another epithet, though others on CNN did not edit the remark. The CBS Evening News warned viewers it would be using the term and it might not be child-friendly.

Variations of the term would fall under the FCC's rules against indecent language, but there is a carveout for news broadcasts. CNN also reported that Trump also said: “Why do we need more Haitians, take them out.” The President Tweeted a response Friday (Jan. 12), conceding he had used strong language, but not the language ascribed to him.

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

after the White House issued a nondenial statement the night before that was being treated by some news outlets, including CNN, as a tacit confirmation. He followed that up with a stronger denial:

Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said “take them out.” Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings - unfortunately, no trust!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018

Durbin said of the tweets. "It is not true, he said these hateful things." He also said he had not seen any reports about the language that were inaccurate.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.