President Donald Trump’s reported derogatory remarks about Haiti and slur against immigrants from « shithole » countries in Africa sent shockwaves around the world, simultaneously becoming a diplomatic issue that could damage America’s global image and complicating an immigration reform effort at home.
US Reputation at stake
Shock and outrage greeted Trump’s remarks in a meeting with lawmakers on immigration reform on Thursday. Several countries called in US ambassadors for an explanation and to remonstrate with them over the President’s language.
Lawmakers expressed disappointment and disgust, with one declaring the comments counter to the very « essence of American patriotism. » Even as Trump’s comments provided fodder for late night comics, they raised questions about whether he has now made it harder for lawmakers to find a compromise to achieve immigration reform.
Critics in the US and abroad noted that Trump’s sentiment cut against the idea of the United States as a nation of immigrants and the foundational view that the content of person’s character is more important than their origin or the color of their skin.
Many of those who criticized Trump said his remarks would damage America’s global reputation.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who has maintained a close relationship with Trump while at times being critical, was at the meeting Thursday.
« Following comments by the President, I said my piece directly to him yesterday, » Graham said. « The President and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel. I’ve always believed that America is an idea, not defined by its people but by its ideals. »(cnn)