Home / NEWS / Trump’s ‘shithole’ remark is the latest in long string of racial provocations

Trump’s ‘shithole’ remark is the latest in long string of racial provocations

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From the moment he launched his candidacy by attacking Mexican immigrants as criminals, President Trump has returned time and again to language that is racially charged and, to many, insensitive and highly offensive.

Whether it is a calculated strategy to appeal to less tolerant and broad-minded supporters or simply a filter-free chief executive saying what’s on his mind, the cycle is by now familiar: The president speaks, critics respond with outrage, and Trump’s defenders accuse his critics of hysterically overreacting.

The latest instance came Thursday, during a White House meeting with congressional lawmakers on immigration. Trump asked why the United States would accept immigrants from “shithole countries” in Africa and the Caribbean, rather than people from places like Norway, according to two people briefed on the meeting.

A glimpse at some of the president’s earlier provocations:

When Trump announced his campaign for president

Donald Trump
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) ORG XMIT: IANH116 Nati Harnik / Associated Press

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems.…They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.”


At a South Carolina rally five days after the San Bernardino terrorist attack

San Bernardino memorial
A memorial to the San Bernardino shooting victims near the Inland Regional Center on Dec. 8, 2015. Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”


Pointing to a black man surrounded by white Trump supporters at a campaign rally in Redding

Donald Trump
At a campaign rally in Redding, Donald Trump referred to a man in the crowd as “my African American.” Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

“Look at my African American over here. Look at him.”


U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel
U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel. John Gastaldo / TNS

Trump said the Mexican ancestry of a federal judge born in Indiana should disqualify him from presiding over a fraud lawsuit against Trump because of his proposed border wall. After he called U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel “a member of a club or society very strongly pro-Mexican,” a reporter asked Trump whether he would also feel that a Muslim could not treat him fairly because of his proposed Muslim ban. “It’s possible, yes,” Trump said.


Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listens as Donald Trump makes his argument during their first debate at Hofstra University on Sept. 26, 2016. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

“Our inner cities, African Americans, Hispanics are living in hell because it’s so dangerous. You walk down the street, you get shot.”


At Oval Office meeting, according to a New York Times report quoting unnamed officials. A White House spokeswoman denied the report

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump. Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty Images

Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS” and Nigerian immigrants will never “go back to their huts” in Africa.


Days after a woman was killed and dozens injured in Charlottesville, Va., after torch-bearing Ku Klux Klansmen and other white supremacists waving Confederate flags and chanting “Jews will not replace us” confronted counter-protesters over the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue

Ku Kulx Klan
Members of the Ku Klux Klan arrive at a rally in Charlottesville, Va. on July 8, 2017. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP/Getty Images

“I think there is blame on both sides.…You also had people that were very fine people on both sides.…Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.”


At a rally in Phoenix, referring to the removal of Confederate monuments

Robert E. Lee
A monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Va. Steve Helber / Associated Press

“They’re trying to take away our culture. They’re trying to take away our history. And our weak leaders, they do it overnight. These things have been there for 150 years, for a hundred years. You go back to a university and it’s gone. Weak, weak people.”


At a political rally in Alabama, where he denounced black football players who have taken a knee during the national anthem to protest racial discrimination in the criminal justice system

Eric Reid, Colin Kaepernick
San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid and quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneel during the national anthem before their game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 12, 2016. Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!”


Slur directed at Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has claimed Native American heritage, in his remarks honoring Navajo veterans for their service in World War II.

Donald Trump, Thomas Begay, Peter MacDonald
President Trump with Navajo Code Talkers in the Oval Office on Nov. 27, 2017. Susan Walsh / Associated Press

“You were here long before any of us were here. Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.”

mark.barabak@latimes.com | Twitter: @markzbarabak

michael.finnegan@latimes.com | Twitter: ​​​​​​​@finneganLAT

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