In a fit of anger during a June cabinet meeting in the Oval Office, President Donald Trump said Haitians entering the U.S. “all have AIDS” and that Nigerians would never “go back to their huts” once they saw America, according to The New York Times, which reported the comments in a bombshell article it published Saturday.
The White House denied the former reality TV star made the controversial remarks. “General Kelly, General McMaster, Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Nielsen and all other senior staff actually in the meeting deny these outrageous claims,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told The New York Times. “It’s both sad and telling The New York Times would print the lies of their anonymous ‘sources’ anyway.”
Huckabee Sanders was referring to Chief of Staff John Kelly, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security is Kirstjen Nielsen.
The Times reported the president made the comments after adviser Stephen Miller gave him a list numbering the immigrants from certain countries who had received visas during the Trump presidency, despite the Republican running on a hard-line anti-immigration platform. New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman tweeted that right before the story written by Michael D. Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis was set to publish the White House “pushed out cabinet members to deny the details of POTUS remarks.” But the Times story notes that two anonymous officials who served as sources for the article deemed the comments so noteworthy at the time that they told others.
The story is titled “Stoking Fears, Trump Defied Bureaucracy to Advance Immigration Agenda” and takes a look at what the president has done to push his hard-line stances.
Trump won the 2016 election while promoting his long-promised wall along the southern border of the United States, a ban on Muslim immigrants and putting America first. He even opened his candidacy by claiming Mexico was sending rapists and criminals to the states.
Amid Trump’s crackdown on immigration, there has been a rise of human smuggling at the border, Newsweek’s Nicole Goodkind reported this week. Earlier this month the U.S. pulled out of a global U.N. immigration pact aimed at helping migrants and refugees, saying it was incompatible with Trump’s policies.
“Our decisions on immigration policies must always be made by Americans and Americans alone,” read a statement from U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley at the time. “We will decide how best to control our borders and who will be allowed to enter our country. The global approach in the New York Declaration is simply not compatible with U.S. sovereignty.”