Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was outraged Thursday evening when she learned President Donald Trump reportedly questioned why the U.S. should permit more immigrants from "shithole countries" after senators discussed revamping rules affecting entrants from Haiti and Africa.
Trump reportedly made the remark in the Oval Office as two lawmakers described details to him of a bipartisan compromise among six senators that would extend protections against deportation for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants and strengthen border protections.
"The president calling Haiti a 'shithole' country ignores the contributions thousands of Haitians have made to our South Florida community and nation," Ros-Lehtinen tweeted. "Language like that shouldn't be heard in locker rooms and it shouldn't be heard in the White House."
Ros-Lehtinen wasn't the only Republican from South Florida to react to tthe derogatory comment. Rep. Carlos Curbelo also released a statement about the humanitarian temporary protected status that used to apply to El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
President Barack Obama's administration granted TPS to Haitians after the devastating 2010 earthquake. It was extended through Jan. 22, according to The U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services.
"The men and women who have status under the TPS program are among the most humble and hard-working in our country," Curbelo said. "They improve quality of life in our communities and many Americans depend on them to support family life."
Curbelo also said the White House must immediately explain the situation and leave no doubt regarding what was said and in what context.
"Under no circumstances is it acceptable to degrade, denigrate, or dehumanize" Haitians, Curbelo said.
Rep. Frederica Wilson, who accused Trump of callously handling a phone call with U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson's widow, said she was disappointed to learn that Trump prefers immigrants from countries like Norway, but she wasn't surprised.
"His comments are yet another sign that people of color cannot count on this administration to create an agenda that treats all Americans fairly, regardless of their race, creed or color," Wilson said in a statement.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Trump's remark was racist, discriminatory, outrageous, horrendous and unacceptable.
"No American can be proud of a President who speaks this way," the Democratic lawmaker said in a statement. "Trump’s Republican colleagues must denounce his comments and stand up against bigotry and intolerance or be guilty of sanctioning them."