Actor Sean Penn sounded off on President Donald Trump's reportedly calling Haiti, El Salvador and African nations 's***hole countries' during an bi-partisan meeting regarding immigration in the Oval Office on Thursday.
Penn's commentary was published in an op-ed piece for Time Magazine on Friday, on the 8th anniversary of the 2010 Haiti earthquake that left the country devastated, killing more than 300,000 people.
'President Trump‘s words describing the glorious people of Africa, El Salvador and Haiti is far worse than mere insensitivity or even nationalism,' the actor wrote.
'[...] President Donald Trump is an enemy of Americans, Republicans, Democrats, Independents and every new child born. An enemy of mankind. He is indeed an enemy of the state.'
Sean Penn published an op-ed piece for Time Magazine on Friday, on the eighth anniversary of the 2010 Haiti earthquake that left the country devastated, slamming Donald Trump for his reported comments calling Haiti and other places 's***hole countries;' Penn is seen here at the SEAN PENN J/P HRO GALA: A Gala Dinner to Benefit J/P Haitian Relief Organization, in Los Angeles on January 6
'Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?' Trump said
Penn, who is the founder of the J/P Haitian Relief Organization, wrote his opinion piece in response to disparaging statements Trump is said to have made on Thursday.
Sources told the Washington Post that the President was frustrated during talks related to protection for people in the US under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and immigrants from other countries at the White House on Thursday.
'Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?' Trump said, referring to Haiti, El Salvador and African countries, according to sources briefed on the meeting.
Trump then stated the US should instead have more immigrants from places like Norway, a country with residents largely of Germanic, fair-skinned descent, and Asian countries, the sources said.
Penn was outraged by what was reportedly said by the US President, particularly at his words directed at Haitians, and came to their defense; Penn is seen here at the SEAN PENN J/P HRO GALA: A Gala Dinner to Benefit J/P Haitian Relief Organization, in Los Angeles on January 6
Penn was outraged by what was reportedly said by the US President, particularly at his words directed at Haitians.
'On this pale blue dot Earth that we call home, the Haitian people are our neighbors, to whom our support is both the policy of a great America as it is a sacred duty,' he wrote.
Penn included facts and figures that show the kind of value people from Haiti bring to America.
'While Haitian immigrants typically arrive in the United States with lower levels of education and income than the general population, they sacrifice as parents to scrap and save and to ensure that their children can make the most of the opportunity to be here. They contribute. And there is no disputing the value they add to American society,' he wrote.
'Second-generation Haitian Americans earn bachelor degrees at a rate 50 percent higher than the general US population. Fourteen percent of second-generation Haitian Americans hold a master’s degree, PhD or advanced professional degree.'
Penn then explained how the success of Haitian immigrants in the US picks up the slack for humanitarian relief needed by their Caribbean homeland, and how he views that as the type of American spirit the entire country should emulate.
'[Haitian immigrant] families send nearly 10 percent of their annual household income back to Haiti in remittances — meaning that the Haitian community in the US sends over $1.5 billion each year back to Haiti,' Penn wrote.
'That sum is significantly higher than any nation-state or international agency donates to the country. The contribution and spirit of these immigrants, as American citizens and as citizens who honor their homeland, may well be the greatest symbol of what makes America great — or at least of what can.'
Penn concluded his piece with words of admonishment for Trump and his administration, and the current highly-polarized state of affairs in America; Trump is seen here boarding Airforce One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland on Friday
He concluded his piece with words of admonishment for Trump and his administration, and the current highly-polarized state of affairs in America.
'The solution to our current divisiveness does not live in the White House. We will find unity only when we recognize that in our current president we have elected, perhaps for the first time in our history, an enemy of compassion,' Penn wrote.
'Indeed, we can be unified not only with each other but with Africa, El Salvador, Haiti, Mexico, the Middle East and beyond if we recognize President Donald Trump is an enemy of Americans, Republicans, Democrats, Independents and every new child born. An enemy of mankind. He is indeed an enemy of the state.'
On Friday, after public outrage swelled over his reported comments, Trump tweeted the following:
'The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made - a big setback for DACA!'
Trump said his language was 'tough,' but not as reported; a Senator who was at the meeting, however, said that was a lie
Sources also told the Post that Trump insisted that Haitians be left out of any deal made concerning immigrants to recieve protections in the US.
'Why do we need more Haitians?' Trump reportedly said. 'Take them out.'
Later, the President addressed that comment specifically, also via social media:
'Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said "take them out." Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings - unfortunately, no trust!'
Trump addressed reports that he said to 'Take them out,' regarding any references to Haitian immigrant protections in immigration policy deal talks on Thursday
Trump is seen here arriving to sign a proclamation to honor Martin Luther King, Jr day, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, DC on Friday
Democratic Senator from Illinois Dick Durbin, who was at the meeting, refuted Trump's tweets about his language in a statement released Friday.
But Democratic Senator from Illinois Dick Durbin, who was at the meeting, refuted Trump's tweets about his language in a statement released Friday.
'In the course of his comments, President Trump said things that were hate-filled, vile, and racist,' Durbin said.
'He used those words, and he used them repeatedly. I cannot believe that in the history of the White House, in that Oval Office, any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday.'
African nations also responded to Trump's reported words, in a joint statement drafted on Friday during an emergency session of the African group of Ambassadors to the United Nations.
The members said they were 'extremely appalled' and 'strongly condemn the outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks attributed to the President of the United States of America as widely reported by the media.'
The statement went on to express their 'concern at the continuing and growing trend from the US administration towards Africa and people of African descent to denigrate the continent and people of colour.'
The statement also expressed solidarity with 'the people of Haiti and others that have been similarly denigrated,' as well as gave 'thanks to the American people from all walks of life and backgrounds who have condemned the remarks.'
Penn's full op-ed for Time can be read here.
African nations responded to Trump's reported words, in a joint statement drafted on Friday during an emergency session of the African group of Ambassadors to the United Nations