Neo-Nazis and other white supremacists are celebrating President Trump‘s reported comments referring to Haiti, El Salvador and several African nations as “shithole countries,” according to statements collected by The New York Times on Friday
White supremacist Richard Spencer, an organizer of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., last year, lambasted conservatives defending the president on Fox News for pretending the remark was not racial in nature.
“It’s obviously all about race, and to their credit, liberals point out the obvious,” he told The Times.
The Daily Stormer, the largest neo-Nazi website online, welcomed Trump’s reported remark, saying it was evidence he was “more or less on the same page with us.”
“This is encouraging and refreshing, as it indicates Trump is more or less on the same page as us with regards to race and immigration,” the site said.
The Washington Post first reported — and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) later confirmed — that during a Thursday meeting on immigration reform, Trump told lawmakers in the Oval Office that the U.S. should take in fewer immigrants from “shithole countries” and more from places like Norway.
The White House did not initially deny Trump made the remarks, but the president tweeted early Friday that the story was false.
“Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said ‘take them out.’ Made up by Dems,” Trump tweeted.
On Friday, Trump ignored a question shouted from White House reporter April Ryan over whether he was a racist while leaving an event honoring Martin Luther King Jr. White House spokesman Raj Shah rejected claims that the president is racist in a statement to The Times.
“This president fights tirelessly for all Americans, regardless of race, religion, gender or background,” Shah said. “Any suggestion otherwise is simply insulting and belies all the results he’s delivered for minorities throughout this country.”
The president has faced criticism in the past for perceived racist comments, such as blaming “both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville that erupted after attendees of Spencer’s rally clashed with counter protesters.