It didn’t take long for Gov. Rick Scott to distance himself from comments made by President Donald Trump in which he referred to Haiti, El Salvador and some African countries as “shithole nations,” a remark Trump now denies making.
“If the reports are true, he should take them back. I disagree with them completely,” Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, told Fox News Friday morning. “We have very good legal immigration in our state.”
Trump reportedly made the comment Thursday during a meeting with members of the Senate on immigration in the Oval Office.
“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used,” Trump said in a tweet Friday morning.
The Washington Post first reported the president’s comments.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump was quoted as saying.
His denial Thursday morning came even though the White House didn’t dispute the comments after they were reported by several media outlets on Thursday.
“I do not think this way, nor do I agree with this kind of sentiment,” Scott told Politico Thursday evening.
“I represent Florida, and we are an amazing melting pot where over 250 languages are spoken.”
“I work every day to make this the most welcoming state for everyone — Haitians, Cubans, Venezuelans, and others from all around the world that call Florida home,” Scott said. “I’m incredibly proud of our diversity.”
According to Politico, Florida is home to an estimated 305,000 foreign-born Haitians.
Reports of Trump’s comments immediately drew fire from the only Haitian-American member of the Florida Legislature.
“The President’s ongoing war against immigrants appears to be solely directed toward those immigrants of color,” state Sen. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami, said in a written statement. “I am appalled and disgusted that the man who stands as the symbol of a nation once offering refuge and sanctuary to all immigrants is doing his best to say: ‘non-whites need not apply.’”
Campbell called the president’s remarks, “loathsome.”
“Immigrants are the backbone of this nation, and this state,” Campbell said. “Over the centuries, they have fled famine, political unrest, and tyrants, risking their lives to begin anew in this country.”