This post contains strong language.
Both of the Democrats who represent Tennessee districts in the Congress condemned language used by President Donald Trump to disparage several majority-black nations, but the state's Republicans were silent after asked to comment by Nashville Public Radio on Friday.
Multiple news outlets — including NPR — have reported that Trump used a vulgarity during a meeting with senators to discuss a possible deal on immigration. The president was apparently upset that the deal might extend protections to immigrants from Haiti and African nations who face deportation.
After some members of Congress, including a Haitian-American Republican from Utah, condemned the remarks, WPLN asked members of Tennessee's congressional delegation their views. Early Friday morning, we sent all 11 members the following two questions:
- Do you support the president's use of the word "shithole" to refer to the homelands of certain American immigrants and their descendants?
- Do you agree with his underlying point — that the United States should categorically deny all would-be immigrants from certain nations? If so, please name those nations.
Nashville Rep. Jim Cooper and Memphis Rep. Steve Cohen, both Democrats, condemned the president's language. As of the close of business on Friday, none of the Republicans had replied.
Sen. Bob Corker
Sen. Lamar Alexander
Rep. Phil Roe, TN-1
Rep. Jimmy Duncan, TN-2
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, TN-3
Rep. Scott DesJarlais, TN-4
Rep. Jim Cooper, TN-5
"The comments were embarrassing, offensive, and totally beneath the dignity of any American official, let alone the President. We are a proud nation of immigrants from all over the globe. They are the essence of our greatness."
Rep. Diane Black, TN-6
Rep. Marsha Blackburn, TN-7
Rep. David Kustoff, TN-8
Rep. Steve Cohen, TN-9
“Donald Trump should apologize to the countries he sullied with his disgraceful comments. It is the President’s job to act on behalf of our nation’s best interests, and as President he must apologize.
“It’s time for the President to forget the Roy Cohn mantra of ‘never apologize, never admit wrongdoing’. It isn’t relevant in 2018, especially to the President of the United States who must act as a diplomat and must deal with the nations of the world, whose support American needs in many arenas – from cooperation on global security and energy and climate goals, to votes in the United Nations.
“As I said on December 31 on MSNBC, Donald Trump is the most despicable human being to ever reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Unfortunately he gives more evidence of this every day. His most recent comment categorizing some nations as “s--- hole” countries is another shameful embarrassment in a long litany of disgraceful moments as President, which includes his categorizing of some neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia as ‘very fine people.”