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‘Divisive,’ ‘elitist,’ ‘racist’: Reactions to Trump’s immigration comments

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A border wall is still a must-have.

Well, that’s one way to talk immigration policy.

President Trump grew frustrated during recent immigration discussions in the Oval Office and, according to The Washington Post, asked lawmakers, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?

Trump’s comment was referring to immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries, the Post reported, and he then suggested the U.S. try to increase immigration from countries like Norway.

More: Report: Trump uses crude term while attacking protections for immigrants

The White House did not deny that the president used the phrase, and the comments drew sharp criticism from U.S. politicians and pundits who called the remarks racist, among other things.

Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, called Trump’s words “divisive” and “elitist” and demanded he apologize to Americans and citizens from the countries “he so wantonly maligned.”

Some of Love’s Republican colleagues joined her in condemning the remarks. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, called for a “detailed explanation” of the comments, and said immigrants, “regardless of their country of origin,” make America “special.”

Democrats quickly decried the comments, too. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., called the words “blatant racism” and “a brazen betrayal of American values.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the words were “sad,” while Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., tweeted immigrants “should be welcomed and celebrated, not demeaned and insulted.”

Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez simply tweeted, “My parents came from one of those countries.” Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., added that Trump “does not speak for America.”

Former CIA Director John Brennan, who was appointed by former president Barack Obama, said Trump “demonstrates daily that he is a deeply flawed person” when sharing the Post‘s article.

Republican political pundits also jumped on the comments, with some defending Trump.

“This is how the forgotten men and women in America talk in the bar.” Fox News host Jesse Watters said. “This is how Trump relates to people.”

Fellow Fox host Tucker Carlson suggested El Salvador may be a “shithole,” and conservative commentator Ann Coulter approved of Trump’s remark, saying “he’s trying to win me back.” 

Former adviser to Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign Michael Steel told Meet the Press it was a “borderline racist, stupid comment.” MSNBC host Chris Matthews thought the comments showed Trump is “unfit for office.”

Follow Ryan Miller on Twitter @Ryan W_Miller

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