President Donald Trump wasn’t shy in expressing his frustration with lawmakers Thursday as they dabbled with reinstating protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries, according to news reports.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to two Washington Post sources, who were being briefed on the meeting. Trump, who was meeting with lawmakers to try to get bipartisan support on an immigration deal, later suggested the U.S. should welcome more people from countries like Norway, whose prime minister he met on Wednesday.
During the meeting in the Oval Office, Trump wasn’t happy with the idea pitched by senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.). The lawmakers had proposed cutting the visa lottery program in half and giving first dibs to countries already in the system, a White House official told the news outlet.
The possible bipartisan deal would aim to bring back protections for countries that have been removed from the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program. Just this week, the Trump Administration said it was removing TPS for about 200,0000 Salvadorans who were allowed to live and work legally in the United States since the 2001 earthquakes that killed 1,100 people and displaced more than 1 million. Homeland Security officials said conditions had improved in the Central American country and TPS is no longer applicable. The TPS would be extended until September 2019 to give Salvadorans time to prepare to return home.
The bipartisan proposal also called for adding $1.5 billion for a border wall, according to the Post.
According to The New York Times, when Trump heard that Haitians were among those who would benefit, he asked if they could be exempt from the plan, asking: “Why do we want people from Haiti here?”
Last year, the president “complained about admitting Haitians to the country, complaining that they all had AIDS, as well as Nigerians, who he said would never go back to their ‘huts,’” reported the Times. The White House denied that the president made those remarks.