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Rep. Waters’ Statement on Trump’s Vulgar Lies about Haitians

January 12, 2018
Press Release

Rep. Waters’ Statement on Trump’s Vulgar Lies about Haitians

LOS ANGELESCongresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, released a statement in response to Donald Trump’s comments about immigrants from Haiti.  Haiti is one of the countries Trump referred to as “shithole countries” in an Oval Office meeting yesterday, during which he also said, “Why do we need more Haitians?” and “Take them out.”  During a previous Oval Office meeting last June, Trump complained that 15,000 immigrants had come from Haiti, and they “all have AIDS.” The Congresswoman’s statement follows:

“Donald Trump has proven that there is no limit to his hatred, bigotry, and vulgarity.  As a longtime friend of Haiti who has traveled to the country numerous times, I am especially appalled by Trump’s racist and ignorant comments about Haiti.  It is most unfortunate that these hateful comments came on the eve of the eighth anniversary of the tragic January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti, which killed between 220,000 and 300,000 people and displaced 1.5 million people from their homes.

“Just thirteen days after the 2010 earthquake, I traveled to Haiti and witnessed the determination of the Haitian people to help one another survive the disaster and rebuild their nation in the wake of seemingly insurmountable odds.  I returned to the United States determined to help them and promptly introduced H.R. 4573, the Debt Relief for Earthquake Recovery in Haiti Act of 2010, to free Haiti from the burden of international debts and allow the country to focus its limited resources on its recovery efforts.  This bill was passed by the House and Senate with strong, bipartisan support and signed into law by President Barack Obama on April 26, 2010.

“An island nation in the Caribbean, Haiti is at extreme risk from hurricanes, and has survived numerous severe storms, including Hurricane Matthew in 2016, which washed away crops and caused millions of dollars in damages.  Haiti is also struggling to recover from the introduction of cholera as a result of poor sanitation by United Nations peacekeepers in 2010.  Approximately 10,000 Haitians have died, and nearly a million have been infected with cholera since then.

“Over the last decade, Haiti has been devastated by an unrelenting series of natural disasters. Haitians have responded to each of these with humbling courage and tremendous resourcefulness, and I have worked hard to mobilize the support of my colleagues in Congress to assist them however and whenever we can.

“I have also worked with my congressional colleagues, State Department officials, Haitian political leaders, and Haitian civil society to promote effective governance, democracy, and respect for human rights in Haiti, which has an unfortunate history of repressive dictatorships under corrupt, autocratic leaders.  In 1994, I worked with then-President Bill Clinton and my colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus to support the restoration of democracy in Haiti and allow democratically-elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was ousted by the brutal 1991 coup d’état, to return to Haiti and complete his term in office. 

“Following a second coup d’état in 2004, when President Aristide was taken by force to the Central African Republic, I traveled to that country, negotiated his release, and accompanied him to Jamaica.  He then traveled to South Africa, where he remained until he was able to return safely to Haiti.  I then worked with my colleagues in Congress to advocate for free, fair, and inclusive elections in Haiti, which resulted in the election of President René Préval in 2006.

“Haiti has faced unyielding challenges throughout its history, and yet its people continue to resolutely face each and every obstacle they encounter.  It is the only country to have achieved its independence as the result of a successful slave rebellion.  It is a proud country of hard-working people, who continue to work to improve their lives and create a better future for themselves, their families, and their fellow citizens.

“Donald Trump’s vulgar comments about Haitians illustrate his complete ignorance of Haitian history and what the country has endured.  If Trump were not blinded by his own bigotry, he might be able to see the people of Haiti as the honorable and courageous people they are.

“There is no hope for Donald Trump.  He is a disgrace to the United States of America, and he should be impeached. But there is hope for the Haitians, and I stand by them.”