BUFFALO, N.Y. - The vulgar remarks attributed to the President of the United States about Haiti and people of African nations are being condemned by some federal lawmakers, refugees and Haitian-Americans in Western New York.
Congressman Brian Higgins (D-NY-26) said, "this is rhetoric that can not be tolerated and it projects poorly on the country. This behavior is irrational and it is unacceptable and as Americans people should categorically reject it." Higgins says he also believes the President's base is beginning to erode after people stood with him and giving him a chance more than once.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted, "A repulsive, unacceptable remark, far beneath the dignity of the presidency. Our country is better than this."
Congressman Chris Collins said, "I was not in the meeting with the President and do not know what was said, although have every reason to believe President Trump when he says he did not make those comments. I support the President’s push for merit based immigration as well as resolving the DACA situation once and for all. We need to continue to work for a bipartisan solution to this problem and not be distracted by name calling and finger pointing."
2 On Your Side reached out for comments from Congressman Tom Reed along with Senator Charles Schumer. Neither responded to our request.
It should be noted that the President tweeted that his language was "tough" but insisted he didn't say anything derogatory.
The comments came during a discussion about immigration. It was in the Oval Office as lawmakers were discussing protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal.
The Western New York Refugee and Asylee Consortium consider the comments attributed to the President "inappropriate across the board." Many gathered for a press conference to show their disdain. A representative from Jericho Road Community Health Center said, "every person from every country has value and contributes to the community," adding that the President's alleged words only divide people.
Yves-Richard Blanc was born in Haiti and came to the United States at the age of 8. His response to Mr. Trump's reported comment, "it didn't surprise me, because he started his campaign in a way that he was saying some difficult things about other people. The President is not well educated about the Haitian people or Haiti." Blanc didn't hesitate to say the comments are "racist."
He said the people of Haiti are hard workers and not looking for handouts. Blanc returns to his homeland for medical missions and to visit family. He admits it is a country with a lot of poverty and illness.
It should be noted that the President tweeted that his language was "tough" but insisted he didn't say anything derogatory. The comments came during a discussion about immigration. It was in the Oval Office as lawmakers were discussing protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal.
Eva Hassett, executive director of the International Institute of Buffalo knows the DACA discussion is serious and a concern.
"It has been a year of uncertainty and anxiety and fear on behalf of a lot of foreign born people in this country."
As a way to show support for the people of Haiti and African nations living in Western New York, a local church started a GoFundMe account as a way to show they resist hate.