Trump reportedly said the influx of Muslim immigrants since January made a “mockery” of his proposed travel ban, to the point that “friends were calling to say he looked like a fool.” The president called Afghanistan “a terrorist haven” upon learning that 2,500 immigrants had come from the country and received work visas to enter the United States in 2017.
One attendee said Trump complained that Haitians “all have AIDS” upon learning that 15,000 people left the island for the U.S. this year. Two officials also recalled the president bemoaning that 40,000 Nigerian immigrants would never “go back to their huts.”
Former Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly, now the president’s chief of staff, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly tried to quell Trump’s anger by explaining that many of these foreign visitors were only traveling temporarily. Their attempts at reasoning soon dissolved, however, as Kelly and domestic policy adviser Stephen Miller began to blame Tillerson for the deluge of foreigners entering the country.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders summarily denied all reports that Trump made any racist remarks about immigrants.
“General Kelly, General McMaster, Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Nielsen and all other senior staff actually in the meeting deny these outrageous claims,” she said. “It’s both sad and telling the New York Times would print the lies of their anonymous ‘sources’ anyway.”
Yet despite the White House’s insistence that the president never uttered the words “AIDS” or “huts” during the meeting, the Times story reports that “the two officials who described the comments found them so noteworthy that they related them to others at the time.”
New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman also shared the story on Twitter this afternoon and said that just before its publication, the White House “pushed out cabinet members to deny the details of POTUS remarks.”
Just before publication of story, WH pushed out cabinet members to deny the details of POTUS remarks https://t.co/wiGpOlAwQM— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) December 23, 2017
If Trump did make such controversial remarks, they would fall in line with his past comments. After all, this is the man who called Mexicans “rapists” as he announced his presidential run.
The White House may receive plenty of gifts this Christmas, but it seems that peace and quiet will elude them once more.