Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.
During a meeting on immigration policy in the Oval Office, President Donald Trump reportedly questioned the United States’ policy of accepting immigrants from, what he said, were “shithole countries,” such as Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations. In the aftermath of the president’s racist remarks, many in right-wing media rallied around him to defend his comments.
Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, argued that Trump’s comments were “common sense on immigration” and claimed that the countries Trump referred to are “basket cases” and “disaster areas.”
Raheem Kassam, editor of Breitbart London, said he had “absolutely no problem” with Trump “using that language in a private meeting,” and compared the president to Shakespeare. Kassam claimed that, like Trump, the famous playwright would also “drop in things that were not OK back then, and things that would challenge the audience, and disturb the audience, and shock the audience.”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson alleged that “almost every single person in America” agrees with Trump’s comments, and that the nations he referenced are “dangerous,” “dirty,” “corrupt,” and “poor.”
Fox’s Jesse Watters: This is “how the forgotten men and women in America talk.”
Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire, excused Trump’s comments saying, “To be fair to the president, some countries are really crappy” and that Trump made those comments “behind closed doors.” Shapiro’s reaction suggested that he took offense to Trump’s racist remarks solely because the comment included a curse word.
Frequent Fox guest Matt Schlapp called attention to “the facts” of the story, saying, “The facts are, I don’t know anybody who has spent two weeks on the beach in Haiti.”
InfoWars’ Paul Joseph Watson echoed Schlapp’s complaint, asking, “Why does no one go on holiday to Haiti? Because it’s a shithole.”
Right-wing troll Mike Cernovich tweeted, “Go move to Haiti. Or Liberia. Oh, you won’t? Why is that?”
Right-wing radio host Bill Mitchell tweeted “If you fill your nation with people from sh*tholes, it’s not long before your nation is a sh*thole too,” and claimed that “calling a nation a sh*thole isn’t racist,” because “some countries are actually terrible.”
Fox News contributor Tomi Lahren tweeted “If they aren’t shithole countries, why don’t their citizens stay there? Let’s be honest. Call it like it is.”
Conservative author Ann Coulter tweeted, “Okay, yes — Trump shouldn’t call them ‘shithole countries.’ A little respect is in order. They are shithole nations.”
Discredited author Dinesh D’Souza agreed with Trump’s comments, tweeting, “A CONCEPT, EXPLAINED: Countries so messed up that most of their citizens are trying to run away officially qualify as ‘shitholes.’”
Right wing conspiracy theorist Mark Dice claimed, “Liberals always get upset about facts when confronted with them. Some countries are shitholes.”
White supremacist David Duke tweeted that Trump’s comments reflected a “perfect truth,” and urged the president to “act on it.”
Sinclair’s Boris Epshteyn argued that outrage over Trump’s comments was hypocritical because media outlets didn’t have a “total meltdown” after comments former President Barack Obama made a decade ago.
White nationalist Nick Fuentes tweeted that “Haiti IS a shithole. And of course, it was Haitians who made it this way.” He also said, “This only becomes more powerful when juxtaposed with Norway. Compare serene, wealthy Norway to poor, violent Haiti. Do we want more Norwegians or more Haitians? Everyone knows the answer!”
Frequent Fox guest Dan Bongino dismissed “liberal goons” calling Trump racist, saying Trump “never mention[ed] race at all in a comment on immigration.”
Fox host Sandra Smith went back and forth on whether the president actually made the comment, even after her own station confirmed that he had.
Internet troll Nick Short tweeted that the media isn’t “outraged” over Trump’s comments but rather “the fact that Trump supports American sovereignty.”
Fox regular Steve Rogers argued that he didn’t believe Trump had made the comments but that characterizing Trump as a “racist” is “unfair,” and that he doesn’t “see people running to these countries.”
Fox regular Michelle Malkin claimed that the real “shithole” is “our trashed southern border.”
Right-wing radio host Mark Simone excused Trump’s comments because, he said, they were “about the whole list of TPS countries,” not just the countries with “black populations.”
Right-wing troll Jack Posobiec tweeted, “Its remarkably refreshing to hear a President who speaks his mind instead of lying to the American people every day.”
Fox News contributor Robert Jeffress said he disagreed with the president’s “vocabulary,” but argued that Trump is “right on target in his sentiment.”
Header image by Sarah Wasko / Media Matters