One day after their counterparts at the county slammed Donald Trump, Miami commissioners on Thursday piled on, condemning the president’s description this month of Haiti and El Salvador as “shithole” nations.
Well, his alleged remarks.
In a vote that played out along partisan lines, commissioners voted 3-2 to insert the word “alleged” into a resolution brought by commission chairman Keon Hardemon condemning “all racially, culturally, or national origin insensitive statements made by anyone, including the president of the United States.”
Three Republican commissioners, Joe Carollo, Willy Gort and Manolo Reyes, would support the item only if the statement about Trump was couched. Hardemon and Ken Russell, both Democrats, voted to leave the word out, partly because they wanted to condemn Trump’s overall body of comments about immigrants and not focus on the now-infamous meeting.
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“It’s a he said, she said,” said Reyes. “Most of the people there said they didn’t hear anything.”
Trump reportedly called Haiti, El Salvador and several African nations where immigrants have been granted soon-expiring temporary protected status “shitholes” during a private, bipartisan White House meeting early this month. Several members of the meeting have confirmed the reports of Trump’s comments in one way or another — some saying he actually said “shit house” — though some have declined to discuss the meeting.
That group includes Miami Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, who attended the meeting but has declined to discuss what was said. Diaz-Balart has said he doesn’t divulge the contents of private discussions and remains focused on passing new immigration legislation. But Hardemon, a Democrat, said Thursday that lawmakers who’ve stayed mum about the meeting have behaved “cowardly.”
Trump has said he was misquoted.
Hardemon said he intended Thursday’s vote to blast Trump’s comments about immigrants, overall. Miami-Dade County, on the other hand, voted Tuesday on an item that specifically called out what was said during the meeting, which happened to come on the eve of the anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake that wracked Haiti and led former President Barack Obama to establish temporary protected status for Haitians. That status is now set to end in July of next year.
South Florida is home to the country’s largest community of Haitian immigrants. Hardemon’s district includes Little Haiti.
The resolution condemning Trump will be sent to the president. It passed unanimously after commissioners agreed to add Trump’s “alleged” comments about El Salvador and African nations to the list, though Russell, a congressional candidate, said the list was woefully short.
“I don’t know that we have enough paper to include an amendment listing all the countries that have been defamed in the various statements made by the president,” he said.