Republican Rep. Mia Love condemned President Donald Trump on Thursday over his reported comments referring to immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti and some African nations as coming from “shithole countries.”
The Utah representative, whose family is from Haiti, called on the president to apologize and said his remarks were “unkind” and “divisive.”
“The President’ comments are unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values. This behavior is unacceptable from the leader of our nation. My parents came from one of those countries but proudly took an oath of allegiance to the United States and took on the responsibilities of everything that being a citizen comes with,” Love said in a statement on Thursday.
“They never took a thing from our federal government. They worked hard, paid taxes, and rose from nothing to take care of and provide opportunities for their children. They taught their children to do the same. That’s the American Dream,” the statement continued. “The President must apologize to both the American people and the nations he so wantonly maligned.”
Trump made his comments during a meeting with lawmakers at the White House on Thursday, according to the Washington Post along with multiple other news outlets. Several lawmakers proposed restoring protections for immigrants from countries that had their temporary protected status revoked, and the President grew frustrated.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to the Post. He then suggested the U.S. focus on bringing more immigrants from places like Norway, the paper reported.
The White House did not deny or confirm that Trump used vulgar language when talking about immigrants on Thursday. Instead, a statement said the President was advocating for the American people by defending his immigration ideas.
“Like other nations that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said in a statement. “He will always reject temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans, and undercut immigrants who seek a better life in the United States through a legal pathway.”
Some Democrats criticized Trump’s remark on Thursday afternoon, and other Republicans began to speak out as well.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, also from Utah, said Thursday he wants Trump to explain his comments. “I look forward to getting a more detailed explanation regarding the President’s comments. Part of what makes America so special is that we welcome the best and brightest in the world, regardless of their country of origin,” the Senator said on Twitter.
Another Republican lawmaker, Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, also criticized the remarks. “If these comments are accurate, they are disappointing,” Lankford said in a statement. “I would not talk about nations like this, because I believe the people of those countries are made in the image of God and have worth and human dignity.”