Ron Klein, chair of the Jewish Democratic Council (JDCA), issued the following statement Thursday after reports that President Trump had described immigrants from Haiti and other African countries as having come from “shithole countries”:
(Washington, DC) — We condemn the ugly and racist language that President Trump used today to describe immigrants from African countries and Haiti. The president fumed against accepting immigrants from “shithole countries” in the course of a meeting with members of Congress on a bill to extend permanent protections to Dreamers and strengthen border security. He was also said to have called for more immigration from countries like Norway, sentiments that carry strong racial implications.
President Trump’s comments are but one more instance in a long record of seemingly racist and anti-Semitic statements that have come out of this president and this administration. According to previous news reports, the president has described Haitian immigrants as all suffering from HIV/AIDS, and made derogatory references to the “huts” in which Nigerians supposedly live. We all remember the disgusting manner in which he condoned white supremacists marching Charlottesville last summer, when he said there was blame on “both sides.”
As Jews and Americans, we are repulsed by this president’s racially-tinged disdain for immigrants and other bigoted statements. We are committed to racial equality, an openness to immigrants from all around the world and a path to citizenship for undocumented people now living in the United States. Perhaps more than other communities, Jewish Americans know the danger of hateful remarks such as the president’s, especially when they come from those in power. Our community also understands that the U.S. must continue to serve as a beacon of freedom to people from a diverse array of countries and populations.
We call on leaders of the Jewish community, especially those who still support President Trump, to remember their Jewish values and condemn his awful remarks.