A leader’s words should inspire, motivate, and encourage. But what happens when something a leader says about a group of people causes pain? Former President Obama used to give uplifting speeches with powerful quotes that inspired hope. But now we have a President that refers to poorer non-white countries as “shithole countries.” The contrast in compassion is unfathomable.
During a recent meeting on immigration, President Trump reportedly asked why America allows immigrants from “shithole countries” like Haiti to come here. His disparaging comments drew stark criticism from both sides of the political aisle.
In fact, over the weekend, a group of Haitian-American diplomats responded by saying the President’s comments caused “heartbreak and despair.” The diplomats were alluding to the fact that the news of Trump’s comments comes on the anniversary of the deadly 2010 earthquake.
The letter states, “January 12th marked the 8th anniversary of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that shook Haiti, taking more than 200,000 innocent lives.” The diplomats continued: “As American diplomats of Haitian heritage, we woke up to heartbreak and despair from reports of disparaging remarks emanating from the administration we serve, as we mourned family members lost on that fateful day.”
The diplomats go on to remind Trump that “there is no America without immigrants, old and new.” They argued, “Haitian-Americans, like Salvadoran and Nigerian Americans, are one of many immigrant groups that make up our country’s mosaic.”
The letter also pointed out Haitian-Americans’ contribution to society, arguing: “Nearly one million Haitian-Americans contribute to the fabric of America. Haitian immigrants contribute to American society as doctors, taxi drivers, lawyers, nurses, teachers and more.”
Haitian-American lawmaker Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) said Trump’s comments were “unkind, divisive, elitist and fly in the face of our nation’s values.” “My parents came from one of those countries, took an oath of allegiance to it, and took on the responsibilities of everything that being a citizen comes with,” she explained. How sad is it that Trump’s comments cause such low morale?