Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said on MSNBC Tuesday night that he believed Trump’s characterization of Haiti as a “shithole” was correct.
Gaetz told host Chris Hayes that he could not refute Trump’s characterization. “The conditions in Haiti are deplorable, they are disgusting. Everywhere you look in Haiti it’s sheet metal and garbage, when I was there,” Gaetz told Hayes.
“I would suggest that people would find that kind of characterization of a place where people live and have pride and love of the place there are from as derogatory,” Hayes replied.
Gaetz was unmoved.
Defending Trump’s “shithole” comments on the merits is a new tactic for Trump’s defenders. As recently as this weekend, Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA), claimed Trump never used the term. But it was later reported that their denial was based on the belief that Trump said “shithouse” rather than “shithole.”
Today, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders shifted tactics and did not deny Trump used the word “shithole.” Instead she said the President used “tough language” without specifying what he said. Sanders added that “no is going to pretend the president is always politically correct. I think that is one of the reason the American people love him.”
Earlier Tuesday, Trump’s Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, said she couldn’t remember what words Trump used at the meeting. Her amnesia drew a powerful rebuke from Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).