"Those words cannot affect me": Haitians react to Trump's comment

President Trump questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from "sh*thole countries" after senators discussed revamping rules affecting those from Africa and Haiti, according to CBS News' Nancy Cordes, citing a person briefed on Thursday's meeting.

"Why are we having all these people from sh*thole countries come here?" the president said in the Thursday afternoon Oval Office meeting with a handful of members of the House and Senate. "We should bring in more people from places like Norway," he added. Norway's prime minister visited the White House Wednesday. The Trump administration recently decided to soon end Temporary Protected Status for citizens of countries like Haiti and El Salvador, who came to the U.S. to escape natural disasters.

Members of the Haitian community react to Mr. Trump's comments:


The comments angered Illinois state Sen. Kwame Raoul, whose Haitian parents immigrated to the U.S. in the 1950s.

"I don't think there's any apologizing out of this," the Chicago Democrat said of Mr. Trump. "He's demonstrated himself to be unfit, unknowledgeable about the history of this country and the history of contributions that immigrants, particularly Haitian immigrants, have made to this country."

Raoul, who was appointed to the Illinois Legislature to fill the vacancy left by Barack Obama's 2004 election to the U.S. Senate, added that it was a personal slight, too. His father worked as a doctor on Chicago's South Side for decades, often serving poor and vulnerable populations.

"It makes me embarrassed to have this guy as the president of my country," said Raoul, who's running in Illinois' March primary for state attorney general.


Farah Larrieux, a Haitian immigrant in Miami who represents a national alliance of people like her who have been granted protections against deportation after natural disasters in their nations.

"This is beyond politics. The guy has no respect for anyone. I am trying not to cry," Larrieux said. "I can't understand how someone goes from making a statement in Little Haiti saying 'I want to be the biggest champion of Haiti' to calling Haiti a 'sh*thole.' It makes me sick." She referred to a 2016 campaign stop in Miami's Haitian neighborhood.

"This is beyond bullying," Larrieux said. "This is a racial campaign against immigrants."


Djenane Gourgue, of the Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce of Florida, says she is not letting Mr. Trump's remarks affect her anymore, adding "his actions can probably hurt more."

"We spend too much time commenting or watching or being pissed off at what Mr. Trump says. That's what he does well ..." Haitian-born Gourgue said. "Those words cannot affect me. ... He's just being a bully."