President Trump's temperament has been his greatest weakness. Whether it's on the campaign trail or his time in the Oval Office, Donald Trump's mouth and Twitter fingers have landed him in hot water where people on all ends of the political spectrum are denouncing him.
This time, President Trump referred to poor nations as "shithole countries" during a meeting with Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and other lawmakers.
Originally, it was reported that Trump specifically called Haiti, El Salvador, and multiple African countries "shithole countries," however, CNN's Jake Tapper clarified that Trump only gave multiple African countries that derogatory designation. His comments about Haiti and El Salvador were in relation to countries that are given "temporary protected status" following natural disasters like the 2010 earthquake that hit Haiti that killed at least 200,000 people.
“Haitians?” the president said. “Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out” —- meaning take them out of the deal.
4/— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 12, 2018
Despite that clarification, President Trump's comments are undiplomatic at best, and demeaning and racist at worst. He should not have said what he said. There's no justification for it.
However, in the lead up to his comments, President Trump was breaking ground with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle on the topic of immigration. Even though he may not be nuanced on his own administration's policies, he was making headway and had meetings to hash out the nitty gritty details in which he could secure funding for the border wall, end chain migration, and implement a merit-based immigration system. Of course, in exchange, Trump would authorize protections for the 800,000 Dreamers who are currently living in the United States.
For the better part of the week, there was dialogue, discussion, and open lines of communication that was civil and focused on finding solutions. No one was accusing the other of being "racist." Washington was finally breaking political gridlock to get something done.
And then it all went to "shit" on Thursday. And, if this deal fails, President Trump has no one to blame but himself.
Siraj Hashmi is a commentary video editor and writer for the Washington Examiner.