There seems to be three main types of reactions shaping up:
- Leftists of all stripes, from Democrat legislators to commentators for CNN and other "M"SM outlets to outraged social-media ranters to UN human-rights types are wasting no time in lobbing the racism charge, which is admittedly low-hanging fruit in this case, given that Norwegians are about as white as they come, and the others are varying shades of brown.
- The two types of Trump fans - the slavish devotees who have been shilling for him since the summer of 2015, and those who, since the election, have taken the "You know what? I've come to like the guy, rough edges and all" stance - are striving to keep the focus on the nature of the countries mentioned in his remark: Haiti, El Salvador, and unspecified African countries.
- Conservatives like Mia Love, Marco Rubio, and Susan Wright at Red State are keeping the focus on the "s---hole countries" comment and how contemptible it is. (Mia Love's statement is particularly noteworthy. She is the child of Haitian immigrants who came here legally and established themselves through hard work and assimilation.)
Those in the first camp even went so far as to question the veracity of the Washington Post article that first covered this. Now, the VSG has also weighed in with a denial. But several of those present say he used that term.
Jake Tapper of CNN says it went down like this:
The president did not refer to Haiti as a “shithole” country according to the source familiar with the meeting… though he DID say it about countries in Africa... What happened, the source says, is there was a conflation of two different remarks by the president. 2/
The layers of this thing are nearly infinite.
For starters, those in the first camp do have a point about those countries. Their problems are systemic and chronic. None of them have experienced a recent natural disaster (although at least El Salvador and Haiti, due to geography, do have histories of them). It's not like people are fleeing something in the immediate past. They are just nations that offer nothing but poverty to nearly all their citizens due to endemic corruption.
Then there's the denial layer. Would respected public figures like Love and Rubio take the stance they have if they thought there was a chance they'd later be found to be upset over something that didn't happen?
Then there is what LITD and anyone else emphasizing the language is surely going to come in for.
Here's my bottom line: I don't want my president using a term like "s---" in any situation where it might go on public record.
But the shills and zealots love to adopt the macho posture and will surely mock us as being effete prisses with a case of the vapors.
Damn it, Scott Mckay at The American Spectator (a pro-DJT zealot) acknowledged it was a crude way to express the point, saying, "ideally, it would be nice if the president wasn't quoted as describing other countries as s---holes." Bookworm likewise characterizes his terminology as "crude" and "brutal."
This points up the danger that principles-first conservatives warned about from the get-go. Valid points about policy (the undesirability of bringing in large numbers of immigrants from chronically failed countries) get buried beneath controversy about the dignity we ought to expect from a US president.
The properly-parsed distinction Tapper makes in the above tweet notwithstanding, once Trump lets fly with a term like this, the horse is out of the barn, and the leftists can start having a field day damaging the conservative brand.
But the drooling, slavish devotees don't care. They are willing to trash the very idea of decorum and dignified bearing in order to - well in order to what? Just what kind of greatness are they referring to when they say they want to MAGA?