Northwest Arkansas is home to a growing and productive immigrant community. Today, Steve Womack basically defended Donald Trump's racist remarks about immigrants from "sh**hole countries." Womack piled on by calling those countries "depraved" and that we should make better appeals to European countries, which is code for "less brown and more white immigrants." Steve Womack is trafficking in racist comments and playing dog whistle politics.In a meeting with lawmakers on immigration Thursday, President Donald Trump reportedly referred to Haiti and certain African nations as "shithole countries" and complained that the nation should focus more on recruiting Norwegians. This has been confirmed on the record by Sen. Dick Durbin, among others. Durbin was in the room, as was Sen. Tom Cotton. Cotton suffered a memory lapse and says he can't recall. Trump issued a meek pseudo-denial on Twitter, but there is little doubt at this point that he made the statement (the White House did not deny the report Thursday despite staffers being in the room; Trump himself reportedly made calls to friends and advisers to gauge reaction to his comments and argued that he was simply saying what many people think).
I try to look beyond the exact words he uses. I wish he would choose his words differently and more carefully and vet those.The D-G this morning offered the theory that Womack perhaps meant to say "deprived" rather than "depraved," but Womack has thus far not issued any further comment, clarification, or response. The Mahony campaign isn't buying that word-slip possibility. Who knows. I think the tell here is later in the quote. Womack and Trump have strong feelings about who "can come in here and actually fit into the society as we know it." They are skeptical that Haitian immigrants qualify.
What I think the president is saying is that if you're only appealing to people from countries that are behind the times, depraved countries, if that's the element that you're appealing to, and of course a lot of those folks are wanting to come to America and pursue the American dream, then he feels like that we should make the same or a better appeal to people from other European countries, et cetera, that can come in here and actually fit into the society as we know it and do the kinds of things that will make America a prosperous nation.