Houston lawmakers are speaking out about comments allegedly made by President Donald Trump when discussing immigration:
Last week, reports of statements made by President Trump regarding El Salvador, Haiti and African countries dominated the headlines.
The Washington Post first reported the comments, alleging attendees in the meeting revealed the President said the following:
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
In the hours after the incident, Trump’s team did not deny the claims:
“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” Whitehouse spokesman Raj Shah said of the incident in a statement.
However, Trump later denied making the comments, saying he’s not a racist:
“No, no, I’m not a racist. I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you,” he said in an interview with a reporter, according to The Guardian.
However, many politicians believe the original accounts, including Houston’s politicians:
Mayor Sylvester Turner, for instance, condemned the comments, explaining Houston is a city of immigrants, with about 25 percent of Bayou City residents being born outside the United States.
Additionally, Turner related his humble upbringing to conditions in developing countries, saying his home could also have been called a “shithole.”
Turner said he grew up in Acres Homes, a low-income area in Houston, as one of nine siblings born to impoverished parents who did not graduate from high school:
“Many would say I come from one of those communities, like Haiti and others,” Turner said in a press conference, according to the Houston Chronicle. “The comments were highly unfortunate and shameful. We are an inclusive society. Every person has value, every community is important, and we should be lifting up and not tearing down.”
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who represents part of Downtown Houston, also weighed in on the issue:
In addition to appearing on MSNBC to discuss the comments, she shared her personal perspective on the comments, pointing out she is the granddaughter of Caribbean immigrants.
Jackson Lee tweeted about her personal history, citing a portion of the Statue of Liberty’s famous inscription.
Congressman Al Green, who represents a southwestern Houston constituency in Washington, also called out the comments, vowing once again to bring impeachment papers against the President in response:
Despite his concerns, analysts agree it is unlikely Democrat Green’s efforts will be successful in the Republican-dominated house.