Washington • Rep. Mia Love, a Utah Republican and the only Haitian-American in Congress, called on President Donald Trump to apologize Thursday after reports said he questioned why the United States was allowing immigrants from “s---hole countries” like Haiti, El Salvador and African nations.
“The president’[s] comments are unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values,” Love said in a statement, noting that her parents, Mary and Jean Maxime Bourdeau, emigrated from Haiti and made their home in America. “This behavior is unacceptable from the leader of our nation.”
Her parents, she said, took an oath to their adopted country and “took on the responsibilities of everything that being a citizen comes with.”
“They never took a thing from our federal government,” she added. “They worked hard, paid taxes, and rose from nothing to take care of and provide opportunities for their children. They taught their children to do the same. That’s the American Dream. The president must apologize to both the American people and the nations he so wantonly maligned.”
Love talked to the media at Salt Lake International Airport on Thursday night after getting off a plane.
“I doubt that a comment like that would have been made if somebody like me is sitting across the table from him,” Love told KUTV-Channel 2.
Trump made his comments to lawmakers during an Oval Office meeting Thursday in a discussion of restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries, according to The Washington Post and The Associated Press.
“Why are we having all these people from s---hole countries come here?” Trump reportedly said, adding that he’d rather have more people from places like Norway, the prime minister of which Trump talked to earlier Thursday.
The White House did not challenge the quote.
Love said she doesn’t want Trump’s comments to detract from work on immigration policy.
“At the end of the day, that’s the biggest issue,” she told the news station. “We need to make sure that we’re not derailed from what we’re trying to do in fixing immigration reform.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, meanwhile, said he would like a “more detailed explanation” of Trump’s comments.
“Part of what makes America so special is that we welcome the best and brightest in the world, regardless of their country of origin,” Hatch said in a statement.
Rep. John Curtis, the newest member of Utah’s all-Republican congressional delegation, said in a Facebook post that he was “dismayed” by Trump’s comment.