Hillary Clinton: Trump’s 'ignorant, racist views'

Hillary Clinton on Friday called President Donald Trump's reported remarks racist as she added her voice to the uproar after the president allegedly derided Haitians and referred to African nations as "shithole" countries in a discussion on immigration.

Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga, went further: "I think the words and his actions tend to speak like one who knows something about being a racist. It must be in his DNA, in his makeup."

He continued: "It’s frightening to have someone in the office of the president in 2018 speaking the way that he's speaking. We've come too far, made too much progress to go back, to fan the flames of racism and bigotry."

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Friday that he heard Trump repeatedly refer to African countries as "shitholes" at a meeting they both attended the day before.

Politicians, pundits sound off on Trump's reported 's---hole' comment
See Gallery
Politicians, pundits sound off on Trump's reported 's---hole' comment
President Trump reportedly used the word 'shithole' to describe African nations. Pundits and politicians were quick to respond ...
The anniversary of the devastating earthquake 8 years ago is a day to remember the tragedy, honor the resilient peo… https://t.co/58mOD3wtR8
It’s not how a president should speak. It’s not how a president should behave. Most of all, it’s not what a preside… https://t.co/9XqCQfB056
.@realDonaldTrump, your mouth is the foulest shithole in the world. With what authority do you proclaim who’s welco… https://t.co/4iGagdJPk3
If the president can’t control himself and lead this country with the authority, dignity and leadership it requires… https://t.co/1otyo1CJh6
SHAME ON TRUMP! The world is witnessing a new low today with this #ShitholeNations remark! totally unacceptable! un… https://t.co/m4YxbnHaxz
Trump Administration leading a race to the bottom on refugees and immigrants that is a betrayal of America’s future… https://t.co/PpSsf2iBRR
#NBONYCdaily Worth noting though what @POTUS thinks of #Africa ..direct flights to a s*******. Cartoon for… https://t.co/R6ocsCAJV6
President @realDonaldTrump has called Africa a shithole. How America elected a narcissist, racist, white supremacis… https://t.co/KdATPCFq24
Paul Ryan on Trump’s remark: “First thing that came to my mind is, ‘Very unfortunate. Unhelpful.’” Then, he thought… https://t.co/FZfWMvfzwm

Trump said "things which were hate-filled, vile and racist," Durbin told reporters.

"The most disheartening thing to me is my belief that that was the first time words that hateful had been spoken in the Oval Office of the White House," Durbin added. "I think back at presidents throughout history and I cannot imagine a moment where a president sunk to that depth. That's what breaks my heart."

Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and David Perdue, R-Ga., said they "do not recall" the comments by Trump but noted "he did call out was the imbalance in our current immigration system."

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle expressed outrage over Trump's remarks.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, wrote in a tweet that the president's comments "could hurt" bipartisan immigration reform efforts, while Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said respecting the dignity of others "is the essence of American patriotism."

"People from everywhere have made American great. Our immigration policy should reflect that truth, and our elected officials, including our President, should respect it," he added.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., tweeted that the comments were "abhorrent and repulsive," while Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called the comments "appalling."

"It’s not enough to just respond with anger," Sanders wrote on Twitter. "We have to build a political movement in this country which says that that is not who we are and we will not tolerate that type of moral inadequacy."

Photos: This is what Haiti looks like

"The president's expressed desire to see more immigrants from countries like Norway must be called out for what it is: an effort to set this country back generations by promoting a homogenous, white society," Sen. Diane Feinstein, D.-Calif., said in a statement.

Not everyone jumped to condemn the president, however.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., offered muted pushback, saying the reported remarks were "very unfortunate."

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., was at the meeting, but said he would exclusively focus on reaching a deal for the young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers.

“Nothing will divert my focus to stop the deportation of these innocent people whose futures are at stake," he said in a statement to NBC News.

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, told the president to "hang in there" in a tweet. King is a hard-liner on immigration and has been accused of racism for his own controversial remarks.

Durbin gave a detailed rundown of the bipartisan meeting on immigration and recounted the president's comments during the discussion.

Stars react to Donald Trump's 'sh-thole' comment
See Gallery
Stars react to Donald Trump's 'sh-thole' comment
Hmmm numbers 2 and 21 are very similar but the initia lie is different than the continued racism post exoneration s… https://t.co/tzRy1DmjuP
Ok 3 more and I’ll def know for sure https://t.co/wOaxLFuXes
Come on now....this is inexcusable https://t.co/5spIRN4R2t
Annnnnd.... virulently racist https://t.co/1bBU4ZkVt6
We are all sons and daughters of immigrants https://t.co/VFX8xOVk7A
I am mortified that our brothers and sisters in Haiti & Africa have hear the blathering of the idiotic 🇺🇸 President.
🤜🏾🤛🏾 https://t.co/zPYGNNHhMQ
UM #NeverForget 💩🕳 https://t.co/wN5i2M0z6q
Tonight at 11/10c, as someone from South Shithole, Trevor is deeply offended by the president’s remarks. https://t.co/4dTaMapmSG
TONIGHT: You better believe if the President is speaking his mind about certain [redacted] countries, Stephen's spe… https://t.co/itUAoOb79V
From tonight’s #LNSM: @SethMeyers responds to Trump’s remarks on “s**thole countries.” https://t.co/gUjCosn7Fn
I’m just gonna start calling him president Shithole.
Our nation was founded by immigrants, built by immigrants, made great by immigrants. They came war torn, oppressed… https://t.co/ELhZsJ6ytX
You are a racist liar. https://t.co/tUMmLqLDm4
Countries don’t immigrate, people do. The quality of a person isn’t determined by their surroundings. The point is… https://t.co/Zz5i2p2mRo
If they aren’t shithole countries, why don’t their citizens stay there? Let’s be honest. Call it like it is.
Haiti you are LOVED ❤️ https://t.co/4f4N91i9Mm
What do the people in 56 different African nations and in Haiti have in common? They are all black. Trump has not d… https://t.co/xGSuFOxcae
How is he allowed to talk to us this way?!! Are there no more moral and ethical codes left in America since he took… https://t.co/yXIArgqmca
The United States is supposed to take people from shithole countries. That’s the whole point, you dotard.

Lawmakers were speaking about immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti who have a temporary protected status in the U.S. due to disasters and political upheaval in their home countries when the president interjected, according to Durbin.

"He said, 'Haitians? Do we need more Haitians?' And then he went on when we started to describe the immigration from Africa that was being protected in this bipartisan measure. That's when he used these vile and vulgar comments, calling the nations they come from 'shitholes,'" Durbin said. "The exact word used by the president, not just once, but repeatedly."

Durbin said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., confronted the president when he used the slur.

Durbin said Graham "spoke up and made a direct comment on what the president said."

"I was very proud of him," Durbin said of Graham. "It took courage for what he did."

Durbin said he told the president that excluding Haitians from the group of temporary protected immigrants would lead to an "obvious" conclusion.

"These are black people. These are folks who bring a different aspect to temporary protected status than those who are from Central American countries. He knew it and we all knew it," Durbin said.

The president tweeted repeatedly on Friday morning about the meeting, acknowledging using "tough" language but denying making critical comments about Haitians.

"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!" he wrote in a post.

Haiti's U.S. Ambassador Paul Altidor said in an interview on MSNBC that he was "dismayed" and disappointed to hear the president's alleged remark, and said has not heard from the White House or State Department about it.

"300,000 people lost their lives on this very day I'm sitting here," Altidor said, pointing to the devastating earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010. "Unfortunately, we are here talking about regretful, regrettable comments allegedly made the president of the United States."

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.