Rep. Barbara Lee: President Trump's 'Shithole' Remarks Part of Racist Agenda

3 min
President Trump speaks before signing a proclamation to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House, on Jan. 12, 2018, in Washington, D.C. Monday Jan. 16 is a federal holiday to honor Dr. King and his legacy. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Trump's vulgar comments, disparaging African nations as "shithole countries," is just the latest proof that the White House espouses racist attitudes and ideologies, according to East Bay congresswoman Barbara Lee.

"This is a pattern, and this is very common with this president," Lee said in an interview.

The comments from the longtime member of Congress and former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus came in the hours after Trump denied reports that, in a meeting Thursday at the White House, he not only made offensive remarks about countries in Africa but also questioned why the United States would admit immigrants from them and other nations, like Haiti.

"This was not the language used," Trump said in a tweet.

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He later denied that he said "anything derogatory" about Haitians or Haiti except that it's a "very poor and troubled country."

But Lee said the reported remarks, confirmed by Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin on Friday morning, angered her and were "very painful."

Lee called on Republicans to condemn Trump's comments and put the president in check.

House Speaker Paul Ryan called the president's remarks unfortunate and unhelpful.

But Ryan needs to do more, according to Lee.

"They're racist comments, and he should say they're racist," Lee said. "This president, we know when he says he wants to make America great again, it means he wants to make America white again."

In the White House meeting on immigration where Trump remarked on African nations and Haiti, there were no women and only one person of color in attendance, according to Lee.

"If I had been in that meeting, I would have gotten up right then and there and said something to the president in front of everyone," Lee said. "I probably would have walked out and called a press conference."

Other California Democrats expressed outrage over Trump's comments as well.

San Jose congressman Ro Khanna, the son of immigrants from India, called the remarks "appalling."

"It's un-American," Khanna said in an interview. "It's insulting."

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