Trump's disparaging remarks bring some Miami Haitians to tears

On a week during which Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood remembered thousands of Haitian earthquake victims, racially...

Posted: Jan 14, 2018 7:57 PM
Updated: Jan 14, 2018 7:57 PM

On a week during which Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood remembered thousands of Haitian earthquake victims, racially tinged remarks attributed to America's President brought some to tears.

"I felt so outraged ... I cried," Farah Larrieux said. "This is the real face of Donald Trump -- the face of hate, racism."

Trump this week voiced frustration behind closed doors about people coming to the US from what he said were "shithole countries," according to sources.

The remarks -- which Trump denied amid wide condemnation in the United States and abroad -- came during an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers. Trump asked why the US needed more people from Haiti and Africa. A person familiar with talk at the meeting told CNN that Trump also said: "Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out."

In South Florida, scores of Haitians turned out Friday to commemorate the anniversary of the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck their homeland on January 12, 2010, killing as many as 300,000 people.

In Little Haiti, the President's remarks became a part of what's usually a solemn event. Participants waved Haitian flags, sang the civil rights anthem "We Shall Overcome" and carried signs with messages such as "Haiti will not forget" and "Trump is a bigot."

"For the American President who said he would be Haiti's greatest champion ... to stand up and make such a comment at this time... leaves me reeling," community activist Gepsie Metellus said.

"It leaves me angry. It leaves me offended. It leaves me hurt and it leaves me wanting justice."

Metellus referred to Trump's September 2016 campaign stop in Little Haiti, where he promised "to be president of all Americans, that's everybody, and whether you vote for me or don't vote for me, I really want to be your greatest champion and I will be your champion."

"The Haitian people deserve better," the then-candidate said. "That is what I intend to give them. I will give them better."

On Thursday, though, during White House talks about an immigration plan that would include protections for people from Haiti and other countries, Trump exploded with his "shithole" remarks, according to sources..

His administration late last year announced it would end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Haiti, potentially forcing tens of thousands of Haitian immigrants to either leave the US or live in the shadows.

As an immigration status allowed by law for certain countries experiencing dire conditions, such as a natural disaster, epidemic or war, tps protects individuals from deportation and authorizes them to work in the US.

Larrieux, one of the more than 20,000 Haitian tps recipients in South Florida who now faces deportation, said she had given candidate Trump the benefit of the doubt.

No more.

"Now," she said, "this is how he treats us."

Marleine Bastien, the organizer of Friday's event, could not bring herself to repeat the President's disparaging description of her homeland.

"We are here to tell President Trump, Haiti is not what he called it," she said. "Haiti is a proud nation."

On Friday, Trump tweeted: "Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said 'take them out.' Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings - unfortunately, no trust!"

Santcha Etienne, 37, was incredulous.

"How is that possible?" she asked of Trump's so-called "wonderful relationship" with her community.

Adonia Simpson, a program director with the nonprofit Americans for Immigrant Justice, said Trump's remarks had filled Miami's Haitian community with "a lot of disappointment, hurt and anger."

"It's pretty clear it was a racist comment regarding people of color," she said.

Metellus, the community activist, believes that pain and anger will be felt at the ballot box.

"I'm going to make sure we work to remember what he said in the midterm election ... and clearly we will not have short memories in 2020," she said.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2109313

Reported Deaths: 53549
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings28051310452
Queens2771879955
Suffolk2009893400
Nassau1836013174
Bronx1834126586
New York1382124499
Westchester1296452289
Erie895641806
Richmond749441841
Monroe689291110
Orange48303843
Rockland46935963
Onondaga38913677
Dutchess29468445
Albany24694356
Oneida22609513
Niagara20032372
Broome18616366
Saratoga15359168
Ulster13905257
Schenectady13197205
Rensselaer11225142
Putnam1060592
Chautauqua8950145
Chemung7758136
Oswego761992
Ontario740393
Steuben6952144
Sullivan667276
St. Lawrence663396
Cayuga633792
Jefferson613068
Wayne578170
Cattaraugus572091
Genesee5435124
Herkimer5182109
Clinton483533
Madison456289
Livingston452060
Fulton442191
Tompkins434652
Montgomery4254125
Columbia4064104
Cortland392562
Tioga382963
Warren365857
Wyoming358153
Allegany355587
Chenango349876
Otsego346047
Greene340279
Washington315955
Orleans311883
Lewis280736
Franklin256112
Delaware237938
Seneca201056
Schoharie169217
Essex159326
Yates117826
Schuyler107214
Hamilton3132
Unassigned9211
Out of NY0248
Utica
Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 59°
Oneonta
Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 57°
Herkimer
Mostly Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 59°
Old Forge
Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 59°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Enchanted Forest Water Safari Summer Fun Giveaway
Father's Day Giveaway 2021
Senior Send-Off brought to you by Herkimer College
18 Facets of Summer Photo Contest brought to you by Herkimer Diamond Mines
Looking for work or looking to hire? Check out the WKTV Job Fair!
Alivana Ready for Summer Giveaway
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve