At least four CNN figures accused President Trump of being a racist or having racist views on air Thursday in response to reports that he said Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations are “shithole countries."
Chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta, senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, and anchors Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon all piled on the president after the Washington Post and others quoted Trump as he lashed out at lawmakers over possibly restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations that his administration plans to end.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump asked. Trump also reportedly asked why the U.S. doesn’t have more immigration from countries like Norway.
Trump “seems to harbor racist feelings about people of color, from other parts of the world," Acosta said in response to the initial Post report.
Remarkable worlds from CNN's Jim Acosta. Not surprising. But these are not ways reporters talk on network or cable network TV. Watch this! pic.twitter.com/2gUqdlREOd— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) January 11, 2018
“It just shows that, you know, the president has racist views,” Toobin said during a panel on CNN. “I mean, you know, how long do we have to dance around that issue?”
Cooper said during a monologue on his evening program that the president "is tired of so many black people coming into this country."
He added later: "Perhaps the White House feels the president's remarks will be well-received in some parts of this country, among some parts of the president's base, and perhaps that is true, but it doesn't make what he said any less ignorant or any less racist. Not racial. Not racially charged, racist. Let's not kid ourselves. Let's not pretend or dance around it. The sentiment the president expressed today is a racist sentiment."
"Not racial. Not racially charged. Racist. ... The sentiment the President expressed today is a racist sentiment." Anderson Cooper reacts to Trump's "shithole countries" remark https://t.co/d29zymhvqy https://t.co/CnCS0plgVL— CNN (@CNN) January 12, 2018
Lemon wasted no time in starting "CNN Tonight" with a swipe at Trump. "The President of the United States is Racist," he said right after introducing himself.
CNN has become one of the news outlets Trump loves to hate, often calling it "fake news" in response to unflattering reports.
However, the network's condemnation of Trump's "shithole" remark has been echoed by Democrats and Republicans alike.
Meanwhile, some members of Trump's base, including conservative author Ann Coulter, appeared pleased.
The White House put out a statement defending Trump's stance on immigration, but did not deny whether Trump made the "shithole" comment.
Thursday's controversy came less than a month after Trump reportedly said those from Haiti “all have AIDS” and those from Nigeria who immigrated to the U.S. would never “go back to their huts." The White House denied that account.