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Southwest Florida reacts to Trump comments

Posted at 6:59 PM, Jan 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-12 18:59:13-05

NAPLES, Fla. -- Southwest Floridians weighed in, Friday, on a vulgar slur President Donald Trump allegedly used to describe Haiti, El Salvador and African countries during a White House meeting on immigration.

Lawmakers inside the meeting quoted Trump saying "Why do we want all these people from s***hole countries coming here?" following up with suggesting the U.S. should instead bring more people from countries like Norway. 

The President denied he said those statements, despite witnesses saying they heard him use the curse word. Haitian-American Democratic Club of Lee County founder Beatrice Jacquet, said if the President truly said those comments, she is disgusted. "It's very demeaning, it's embarrassing, and it's unacceptable."

She also believes Trump calling for more Norwegians in place of Haitian, African, and Central-American immigrants is a display of racism. "When you think about immigrants from Norway and immigrants from Haiti, or African countries, what's the difference except skin color?" she questioned.

The comments are salt in the wound for Jacquet, and other Haitians who are remembering the deadly 2010 earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands of Haitians eight years ago, Friday. 

Naples-based organization Hope For Haiti was on the ground providing aid to the country during the disaster. Stephanie Jepsen, Chief of Donor Experience at the non-profit, called the comments disparaging to the memory of the lives lost. "Hope for Haiti fundamentally rejects the statements that were made. We think they were misguided, and misrepresent the Haiti we know and we love." 

The Haiti the group cares so fondly about can be described with one word: strength. "Incredible strength in the midst of tremendous adversity and challenges," Jepsen said. "We're going to change that narrative and focus on what really matters, and not those comments."

Hope for Haiti held an organization-wide moment of silence for earthquake victims at 4:53, Friday afternoon, marking the time the earthquake hit in 2010.