There’s a bonza report in the New York Times which gives a behind-the-scenes look at Donald Trump‘s thinking on immigration, based on testimony from sources familiar with the subject matter. There’s a lot to digest, but one part got particular attention from the press at large: in one meeting, Trump apparently said immigrants from Haiti “all have AIDS,” and visa-holders from Nigeria would never “go back to their huts” once they’d seen America.
The Times claims that its reporting was the product of more than three dozen interviews, with those specific comments being attributed to two anonymous sources. One of those sources was actually in the meeting in question, and the other was briefed by another attendee.
Both of Trump’s alleged comments are clearly quite racist – the kind you’d ideally not want to hear from the guy with his finger over the big red nuclear button. So it’s perhaps no surprise that the White House has come out guns blazing to deny the report.
A statement from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders slammed the NYT in general and claimed that the comments in question were never made:
General Kelly, General McMaster, Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Nielsen, and all other senior staff actually in the meeting deny these outrageous claims and it’s both sad and telling the New York Times would print the lies of their anonymous ‘sources’ anyway.
Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of Trump fans on social media celebrating the comments as gospel truth whether or not Trump said them or not. So he both did not say them, and did say them but they were true. Whichever narrative fits you best.
The rest of the NYT article explores how Trump came to hold the stances on immigration he does, and his thinking behind the monumental fuckup that was his travel ban – which caused chaos at the nation’s airports and was struck down repeatedly in different forms by various courts. Read it here.