President Donald Trump was heavily criticized Thursday for comments made about immigrants from what he called “s–thole” countries during a meeting with lawmakers.
The Washington Post reported the president, 71, became frustrated during the meeting when they discussed protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and Africa.
“Why are we having all these people from s–thole countries come here?” Trump said, according to the Post.
Anderson Cooper made an emotional statement defending Haiti Thursday night on CNN, saying, “Let me be clear, the people of Haiti have been through more, withstood more, fought back against more injustice than our President ever has.”
“I was taught math in high school by a Haitian immigrant named Yves Volel, who worked hard, dedicated himself to teaching kids,” he said. “He ultimately returned to Haiti and was assassinated while running for president.”
The Anderson Cooper 360° anchor continued speaking in favor of the Haitian people.
“I have never met a Haitian who isn’t strong,” Cooper continued. “You have to be to survive in a place where the government has often abandoned its people. Where opportunities are few and where Mother Nature has punished the people far more than anyone should ever be punished.”
He became emotional as he described the people he had encountered in the aftermath of its devastating earthquake.
“I was there when the 5-year-old boy named Monley was rescued after being buried for more than seven days,” he said, his voice growing thick. “Do you know what strength it takes to survive on rainwater buried under concrete — a 5-year-old boy?”
“Haitians slap your hand hard when they shake it,” Cooper said. “They look you in the eye, they do not blink. They stand tall. They have dignity. A dignity many in this White House could learn from. A dignity the president with all his money and power could learn from as well.”
He concluded, “On the eve of the anniversary of the earthquake, on this day when this president has said what he has about Haitians, we hope the people in Haiti listening tonight in Port Au Prince and Jacmel, and Miami and elsewhere – we hope they know our thoughts are with them, and our love is with them.
John Legend tweeted against Trump after the news broke, calling him “racist.”
“The president is a racist. He has been for his entire public life,” he tweeted. “If you vote(d) for him, you do so because of that or despite that. We need a multi-racial anti-racist coalition to defeat him and try to heal our nation.”
Hillary Clinton tweeted about it on Friday, while simultaneously noting it’s the eight year anniversary of Haiti’s “the anniversary of the devastating earthquake 8 years ago is a day to remember the tragedy, honor the resilient people of Haiti, & affirm America’s commitment to helping our neighbors. Instead, we‘re subjected to Trump’s ignorant, racist views of anyone who doesn’t look like him.
“The only s–thole is Tr*mp,” Platt tweeted, while Clinton wrote, “Mr. President, immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti and the 54 countries in Africa likely helped build your buildings. They’ve certainly helped build our country. cc @POTUS.”
Trump denied the comment in a tweet Friday morning, writing that “the language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used.”
However, Sen. Dick Durbin, who was reportedly in the room with Trump, stated that the president indeed uttered those words.
“He said these hateful things and he said them repeatedly,” the Democrat from Illinois told reporters Friday morning.
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox tweeted and created a poll, asking, “If @realDonaldTrump would’ve said those racist comments while campaigning, plus his other barbaric comments; do you think it would have changed the outcome?”
Don Lemon also criticized the president on CNN Tonight saying his comments didn’t leave him outraged because he “already knew” Trump was “racist.”
“The president of the United States is racist. A lot of us already knew that.”
Lemon urged Trump’s supported to do “some self-examination,” saying, “What does it say about you that no matter what, no matter what, you continue to make excuses for this man, for his vile behavior? Doesn’t that make you just as bad, if not worse than him?”
Seth Meyers also addressed Trump’s comments on Thursday’s Late Night. He introduced a new segment called “Seth Has to Walk Away For a Minute,” in which he fittingly walked away from his desk. His voice was heard from offscreen, muttering, “At what point do you just have some common decency, some human emotion?”