Skip to main content

Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen chides President Trump for calling African, Haitian nations 'shitholes'

The president sparked fury with his comments on Thursday.

Fearful of his base, all but a handful of Republican politicians have been careful not to publicly criticize President Trump too often since his election.

But the president's remarks made during a bipartisan meeting with senators on Thursday appears to have been a step too far for 3rd Congressional District Rep. Erik Paulsen.

The president reportedly asked why America was offering protection to immigrants from "those shithole countries" – including African nations, Haiti and El Salvador – adding that the U.S. should have more people coming in from places like Norway," the Washington Post reports.

On Thursday evening, Paulsen called on the White House to apologize for what he called "degrading comments."

Paulsen's fellow Minnesota Republican House delegation members, Reps. Tom Emmer and Jason Lewis, have not made a comment on Trump's remarks.

Unsurprisingly, there has been plenty of reaction from Democrats in Minnesota, including new Minnesota Senator Tina Smith.

St. Paul mayor Melvin Carter also had his say, as did state Rep. Ilhan Omar, herself a refugee from Somalia.

'The president of the United States is racist'

As much as the vulgarity is grabbing the headlines, the president's preference for immigrants from "Norway" – a predominantly white nation – adds to the weight of racially-charged statements made by Trump.

Many are now openly calling the president a racist. 

"If confirmed these are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States," Rupert Coleville, a spokesman for the United Nations, told the Independent.

"There is no other word you can use but 'racist'."

"This isn't just a story about vulgar language, it's about opening the door to humanity's worst side, about validating and encouraging racism and xenophobia."

On CNN Thursday night, host Don Lemon started his broadcast with: "The president of the United States is racist. A lot of us already knew that."

"For years I and others have been trying to tell you the American people that this man was exhibiting bigoted behavior," he continued. "I asked him about it a number of times but he denied it, and kept up the racist rhetoric and behavior throughout the campaign and now, well he's in the White House."

The president denies it

Initially, in response to reports about his "shithole" comment, White House spokesman Raj Shah did not deny it when asked by NBC News: "Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people.

But on Friday morning, Trump issued a denial, saying he used "tough language" but "this was not the language used." 

In any case, multiple senators – including Democrats – heard him make the "shithole" comment at the meeting.

A White House official also told CNN that Trump's comments are being received differently inside the White House than outside of it, with staffers predicting the comment "will resonate with his base" in the same way his attacks on (black) NFL players did for their National Anthem protests against police brutality.

Next Up

D'Angelo Russell

With KAT out, Timberwolves can't upset Nets

D'Angelo Russell stepped up but couldn't overcome Brooklyn's firepower.

Everson Griffen Vikings dot com

Everson Griffen confirms he has bipolar disorder

"I’ve been running from it a long time. I’m not ashamed of it anymore.”

Angela Renee Jones, St. Cloud murder suspect

St. Cloud suspect now charged in two local murder cases

Both murders happened within a day of each other in June.

st anthony 3 crop

Twin Cities police ask for help finding missing 16-year-old

Police say all her family and friends have been contacted, and none of them know where she is.

mpd suspect 12.3.21 - 1 - CROP

MPD releases photos of shooting suspect, asks for public's help

The man is wanted in connection with a fatal shooting that happened Wednesday evening.

redmons popcorn colbert 2

Support grows for Redmon's Popcorn after shop's sudden closure

The county also commented on the situation, saying it hopes to help owner Zack Redmon.

prior lake high school

Prior Lake HS investigating another 'racist' video involving student

The principal said the social media video was reported to them this week.

Screen Shot 2021-12-03 at 3.08.27 PM

Walz: Minnesota has secured 1 million rapid, at-home COVID tests for kids

It comes as the delta variant continues to surge in Minnesota, and the omicron variant might follow.

boundary waters

Forest Service limiting permits to BWCAW due to damage, overcrowding

Visitors have been cutting down trees and have been forced to compete for campsites.

police lights

Lockdown update: Armed man threatened to go to Kimball High School

A high school and elementary school near St. Cloud went into lockdown as a precaution.

chaska sewer

People in Chaska are flushing the wrong crap down the toilet

Water and sewer crews in Chaska have had to clean the same pump four times in the past seven days.


President Trump endorses Erik Paulsen, but Paulsen's not happy

The 3rd District Representative has been trying to distance himself from the president.

Paulsen: Trump's Putin performance 'embarrassing' and 'dangerous'

The Republican congressman was highly critical of the president's press conference.

President Trump says 'too bad' to election loser Erik Paulsen

Trump also praised Pete Stauber for winning the Minnesota 8th.

What happened at Rep. Erik Paulsen's town halls?

The 3rd District Congressman has been criticized for not meeting constituents in a town hall setting.

Reps. Angie Craig, Dean Phillips join calls for Trump impeachment inquiry

The president is under pressure for a phone call with Ukrainian officials.

What Minnesota lawmakers thought of President Trump's address

What Minnesota's U.S. representatives and senators had to say about the president's speech.

Rep. Ilhan Omar

Rep. Ilhan Omar says President Trump should be impeached, again

The Minnesota representative says she is drawing up articles of impeachment.