President Donald Trump has endorsed legislation to extend the controversial “shithole countries” remark by using a derogatory term for black countries and Caribbean nations.
But the news that Mr. Trump’s homeland of Panama was not one of the nations he disparaged – thanks to a quick correction to his tweet – did not stop senators from feeling excluded.
Several of them were on the Senate floor Monday evening to voice their frustration that members of Congress had not had a vote in the House on legislation to prevent the president from using a derogatory term.
“We need the House to get this through before we leave here and the president can sign it,” said Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia.
Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said that “as the nation we are called upon to correct this behavior.”
Asked about the issue Monday morning, Mr. Trump said he had no plans to change his word choice.
“I hate the phrase ‘shithole countries.’ I hate the phrase,” Mr. Trump said in a statement. “But these are countries that come from very, very poor countries. A country that, three or four years ago, we would never have thought of doing that. The United States would never have thought of doing that.”
The statement contained what seemed to be a tweet correction by the president:
I 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! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2018
The White House had earlier defended Mr. Trump on his actions. “I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians,” Mr. Trump said. “They come in and they work hard. They’re excellent people.”
Mr. Trump has had tough words for immigrants from Haiti, Nigeria and El Salvador — and expressed anger that his name could be associated with the controversy.