US President Donald Trump’s reported description of African nations, El Salvador and Haiti as “shithole” countries has focused attention on previous remarks, which have ignited accusations of racism.
The following is a list of some of his most racially charged policy stances and comments:
– ‘Birther’ controversy –
Trump earned national political prominence by promoting the falsehood that Barack Obama, America’s first African-American president, was not born in the United States.
As a leader of the so-called “birther” movement, Trump repeatedly cast doubt on whether Obama was a natural-born US citizen — and therefore qualified to be president.
Trump grudgingly acknowledged late in his 2016 presidential campaign that Obama was born in the United States.
“President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period,” he said, before refusing to answer questions from reporters.
– Mexican ‘rapists’ –
Announcing his candidacy for president at Trump Tower in June 2015, Trump made derogatory statements about immigrants from Mexico.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems… They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.”
– Travel ban: anti-Muslim? –
Trump has repeatedly raised questions about the loyalty of Muslim immigrants to the United States claiming, falsely, that Muslims in New Jersey celebrated publicly after the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
Responding to a December 2015 terror attack in San Bernardino, California, he proposed a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”
One of his first moves upon taking office was a bid to restrict immigration from a number of Muslim-majority nations, a move which has been tangled up in the courts but which, for the moment, is partially in effect.
– Mexican judge –
Trump argued in June 2016 that the Mexican heritage of a US federal judge should disqualify him from presiding over a fraud lawsuit involving Trump University.
“He’s a Mexican,” Trump said of district court judge Gonzalo Curiel, who was born and raised in the United States. “We’re building a wall between here and Mexico.
“I have a Mexican judge. He’s of Mexican heritage. He should have recused himself, not only for that, for other things,” Trump said.
– ‘Very fine people’ –
Trump came under fire in August 2017 for failing to forcefully condemn a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which resulted in clashes and the death of a counter-protester.
“I think there is blame on both sides,” Trump said.
“You also had people that were very fine people on both sides… Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.”
– Confederate monuments –
Trump has opposed efforts to remove monuments to leaders and generals of the pro-slavery Civil War South from public parks.
“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” Trump tweeted.
“They’re trying to take away our culture. They’re trying to take away our history,” he told a rally in Phoenix, Arizona, in August 2017.
– NFL protests –
Trump has called for owners of American football teams to fire players who kneel during the pre-game playing of the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!” Trump told a rally in Alabama in September 2017.
The players taking part in the protests have been mostly African-Americans.
– ‘Shithole’ countries –
Trump reportedly described African nations, Haiti and El Salvador as “shithole” countries during a White House meeting on immigration and asked why the US could not have more immigrants from a country such as Norway, which is overwhelming wealthy and white.
Trump denied using the term, but Democratic Senator Dick Durbin — who attended the meeting — said the president used it “repeatedly.”
According to The New York Times, Trump said in June of last year that Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS” and that Nigerians would not “go back to their huts” once they reach the United States. The White House denied those comments.