A Republican congressman defended Donald Trump’s recent racist statements about “shithole countries” on MSNBC’s All in with Chris Hayes.
Republican Matt Gaetz of Florida said that the president wasn’t too far off in his description of some countries, noting that “the conditions in some countries really are bad.”
But Hayes shot back with a personal argument, trying to show Gaetz why people were offended by the comments by offering a hypothetical criticism of the Florida congressman’s home region. “If I called Okaloosa County a shithole, you’d understandably be upset with that right?” he asked, per Mediaite.
“Yes, I could also prove you wrong,” Gaetz replied. “I could bring you to Okaloosa county and show you that it is the home of the most beautiful beaches in America. I don’t know if Haiti can make the same claim.”
Everywhere you look in Haiti it’s sheet metal and garbage
After acknowledging that Haiti is a country that has experienced long-term corruption in its government, Gaetz only dug himself further into the hole, pushing back against claims of “over-generalization.”
Hayes argued against Gaetz’s stance that the conditions in Haiti were any kind of referendum on the people from there, pointing out that the president’s own proposal was that of merit of the individual.
“I would not pick those terms [that the president used] the but I would say that the conditions in Haiti are deplorable.” Gaetz said. “They are disgusting. I mean, everywhere you look in Haiti, it’s sheet metal and garbage when I was there.”
A visibly shocked Hayes responded after a moment, saying, “I think you should think — maybe — I would suggest, why people would find that kind of characterization of a place where people live, and have pride, and have love of the place they’re from as derogatory.”
Gaetz, who doesn’t support the DACA policy, also suggested that “one off-the-cuff comment” should not be enough to “derail” the immigration debate, falling back on Republican criticisms that Democrats were holding things up, despite the fact that Republicans control the House, Senate, and White House.