President Trump exploded with vitriolic and racist comments — saying all Haitians have AIDS and mocking Nigerians — during a heated White House meeting about immigration, according to a report on Saturday.
Trump grumbled as he entered the Oval Office, dressing down his national security team and railing against the number of immigrants who had entered the country since he took office.
He said he looked like a fool as the number climbed and he failed to make good on his promise to curtail the number of foreigners coming to America, sources told The New York Times.
Trump fumed at his top security team, reading from a list and complaining that 15,000 immigrants arrived from Haiti.
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They “all have AIDS,” he said.
He read on, complaining that 40,000 people had come from Nigeria.
They would never “go back to their huts” in Africa, the President griped, a pair of officials told The Times.
Trump exploded at staff and cabinet members, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as John Kelly, then the secretary of homeland security, cleared the room of underlings and tried to assert order, sources told the newspaper.
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The White House did not deny the heated nature of the meeting, but insisted Trump never used the words “AIDS” or “huts.”
Several participants in the meeting told The Times they did not recall Trump using those words and did not think he had.
Frank Sharry, the executive director of America’s Voice, a pro-immigration group, said he wouldn’t be surprised if the comments came from the President’s mouth, arguing that his immigration agenda is motivated by racism.
“He’s basically saying, ‘You people of color coming to America seeking the American dream are a threat to the white people,’” Sharry told The Times.
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Since the beginning of his term, Trump has pushed to curb the number of refugees and immigrants accepted into the U.S.
He has recently railed against chain migration and the diversity visa lottery program — pointing to the deadly lower Manhattan truck attack carried out by Sayfullo Saipov, who came to the U.S. through the lottery program as an example.
He has also used Akayed Ullah, a Bangladeshi national who attempted to detonate a bomb in the subway near the Port Authority Bus Terminal, who came to the U.S. through chain migration after his aunt was selected through the lottery program.
Chain migration is a term often misused by anti-immigration hardliners. It is essentially the same process that families of immigrants have used to enter the U.S. for generations.
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Trump’s presidential campaign offered a clear picture of what his White House policies would look like.
Anti-immigration rhetoric and the demonizing of foreigners as a group of people bringing crime or radicalization into the country has permeated the President’s speeches and public comments following tragedies and terror attacks.
The nationalist approach to immigration is in part thanks to senior policy adviser Stephen Miller.
The 33-year-old staffer has made restricting the flow of immigrants and refugees to the U.S. his main priority since joining the Trump team.
Miller drew heat in January for the botched roll-out of the Trump administration’s initial travel ban that targeted Muslim immigrants.
On Friday, a U.S. appeals court said the most recent version of the ban targeting people from six Muslim-majority countries should not be applied to people with strong U.S. ties.
“We conclude that the President’s issuance of the Proclamation once again exceeds the scope of his delegated authority,” the panel said.
In June, the same month that tempers flared in the Oval Office meeting, Miller was warring with State Department staffers over reports about the costs of resettling refugees.
When department specialists proposed including refugees’ economic contributions in the studies to produce a more balanced assessment, Miller rebuffed the idea, one current and one former U.S. official told Reuters.
Miller’s anti-immigration leanings were on full display according to officials who said Miller and the administration wanted to make a case to restrict refugee flows by creating a skewed analysis.
“It’s a policy outcome in search of a rationale,” a former U.S. official told Reuters.
Miller reportedly targeted Tillerson at the June meeting, according to The Times, blaming him for the high number of foreigners entering the country.
The young adviser has relished his role in combating bureaucracy and overturning decades of immigration policy.
“We have taken a giant steamliner barreling full speed,” Mr. Miller said in a recent interview. “Slowed it, stopped it, begun to turn it around and started sailing in the other direction.”
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