Mainers denounce Trump's vulgar comments on African countries


Both of Maine’s senators and many others denounced President Donald Trump’s use of a vulgar slur while describing immigration from Haiti and Africa.

Participants in a private White House session with members of Congress said Thursday that Trump repeatedly called African nations “shithole countries” during the meeting, an assertion that Trump denied in a vague comment on Twitter on Friday.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, didn’t hesitate to denounce his words Friday.

She called them “completely inappropriate” and “highly unfortunate and out of bounds.”

Maine’s junior senator, independent Angus King, called them “truly regrettable and inconsistent with my understanding of what America is all about” in a written statement Friday.

The two senators were far from the only public figures to lash out at the president’s language.


Zak Ringelstein, a Democrat running for U.S. Senate this year, said Trump’s “racist words are a disgrace to everything America actually stands for.”

“It is time that we all confront the fact that we have a white supremacist in the Oval Office and that we will be a stronger, freer country when Congress finally has the backbone to impeach” Trump and remove him from office, Ringelstein said.

Taking a less harsh stance, U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a 2nd District Republican, said he’s focused on “immigration reform and securing our borders” and the president’s comments “are not helpful” to the effort to address the issues involved.

Phil Bartlett, the state Democratic Party chairman, said the president’s words “are divisive, racist, and entirely counter to the values of our nation. We hope that Republican leaders across the state will step up to condemn his remarks without hesitation.”

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a 1st District Democrat, said in a written statement that Trump’s description of African countries was “absolutely sickening, even for him. It’s frightening to have someone in the White House with this kind of ignorance and lack of compassion.”

Not everyone is as upset, however.

Republican U.S. Senate contender Eric Brakey, a state senator from Auburn, said the media are blowing Trump’s comment out of proportion.

“I don’t care much for the president’s crude phrasing, but his point was that our U.S. immigration system is not — and cannot be — a program for fighting global poverty, and with that, I wholeheartedly agree,” Brakey said.

“When it comes to charitable giving to support those across the world, we are a generous nation,” Brakey said. “That doesn’t mean we can support a policy of open borders. For our own safety and economic well-being, our immigration system must serve America’s interests.”

Craig Olson, a Democratic congressional hopeful in the 2nd District, said the president demonstrated again that he is “disconnected from the reality of the role and responsibility of a world power like the United States.”

“His personal biases and utter disregard for the hardworking men and women that come to the United States to build a life that far exceeds what they could build in their home countries is unconscionable,” Olson said. “It appears as though the lack of a Trump organization business in a country means it is not worth our assistance.”

“Unfortunately, we’ve gotten used to this kind of rhetoric, but I am even more appalled by the Republican Congress and our current representative’s silence on Mr. Trump’s belittling of anyone not like him. Shame on them,” Olson said.

Ben Pollard, a Democrat vying to replace King in this year’s Senate race, said, “The poorest countries in the world deserve America’s compassion, and it is sad to see our head of state treating them with disdain. I believe our country should respond to the migration crises with more support for humanitarian assistance and economic development to alleviate the extreme suffering in nations that migrants are most desperate to flee.”

Danielle VanHelsing, an independent congressional candidate in the 2nd District, said Trump’s comments “are incredibly inconsiderate and clearly have an unambiguous racist tone. He is the most unprofessional, disrespectful president in history and is undeserving of the office.”

Another 2nd District independent with her eye on the congressional seat, Tiffany Bond, said it’s unrealistic to think that Trump is going to be anything other than himself. People knew who they were voting for, she said.

Lucas St. Clair, a Democrat taking aim at Poliquin’s seat, said the president “has lost sight of what it is that makes our country great and that the United States remains a shining city on a hill for much of the world.”

Collins said there is widespread agreement in Washington to press ahead with immigration reform. Lawmakers are trying to come up with a plan that fits the bill, she said.

First, she said, it has to protect the so-called Dreamers, children who came to America without proper approval and have grown up in the United States.

During a visit to Schooner Estates, a senior complex in Auburn, she said she spoke to one university student who came as a toddler and didn’t know he wasn’t a citizen until he went to get a driver’s license.

“It’s only fair to give him a pathway to citizenship,” she said.

She said, too, that the nation needs to toughen its border security — not necessarily with a wall but with sensors in remote areas and other steps that would help — and to overhaul the lottery system to allow more room for merit and skills the country needs.

Plus, she said, the U.S. ought to revamp its policy about bringing family members into the country. She said it ought to be limited to immediate family, not a way for distant cousins to wind up with green cards.


U.S. Sen. Susan Collins during a visit to Schooner Estates in Auburn on Friday. (Steve Collins/Sun Journal)

  • Jeff Levesque

    Let’s remember that Collins’ words, as always, don’t match her actions. She’s a huge supporter of Jeff Sessions who shares Trumps beliefs.

  • Abutterfly

    Collins supporting this Trump/Republican agenda is proof where she lies. On the side of a disgusting man who is gutting every part of our gov to pay his 3 trillion back to tnhe Doycha bank and behind republican who supported a tax plan that will bankrupt the country because they didnt want to lose their precious donors. Trump and his clan deserve to go to Guantanamo for selling out our country for money. Hes plans on draining everybit of money from the us. Whether its stealing taxpayers social security money, drilling our oceans and national treasures, to gutting every gov dept. and where is that money going? Certainly not to pay off our national debt. Its going to his wealthy crooked donors and the politicians being paid off like Collins. They r all traitors and should be treated as such. And the people fueling the dark money need to be put away as well for trying to take over the gov by paying to put people in office that will follow their agenda like Pence and every Trump hire.

  • PhDiva

    All the furor boils down to this—no publicity like free publicity when a politician. Get busy on real issues which affect the people already. smh…

  • Thomas Knight

    She says one thing acts differently.

  • FrankE

    I truly beleive Trump has no knowledge of saying these racist comments. He is so used to speaking this way that it comes out automatically with no thought. I really think this one has put him over the line for good. He may slither his way out of immediate repercussions, but with his 32% base losing strength, then he will be toast after the mid terms. Once the Left regains full control of the House and Senate, Trumps troubles will really begin. He has no one to blame but himself for all this………………

  • Greg Poliquin

    Pray tell, would any of you commenters or our brave representatives care to live in the afore mentioned ____hole countries?
    And are we to believe Senator Dick “T”urbin, who alleges that President Trump uttered such natties? While Senator Cotton says he heard no such thing. Let’s remember that Turbin compared US soldiers in Iran to Nazis, Communists and the Khmer Rouge.

    Even if he did say it, he said it behind closed doors in a private meeting. Trusting Godless democrats is Trump’s only crime here.

    • DIS2012

      There doesn’t seem to be anyone more “Godless” than Trump!

      • Greg Poliquin

        Dems literally voted any mention of God out of the party platform. Not the Republicans. Which party does Trump belong to? Not the Godless dems!

    • FrankE

      You may see nothing wrong with his disgusting language, I happen to take offense to it. Closed doors or not, having a known racist as the leader of this nation is unacceptable. On top of that, his many other mental issues, his inability to tell the truth for instance, puts him in a category all his own. Trump deserves to be run out of office, and just for good measure leave him as penniless as he has the American people. He needs to go down hard and as painful as possible. This I would consider just compensation for the damage he has caused millions of Americans and the cost to repair the results of his terrible policies. Racism has no place in this or any other society, It’s not what this country stands for. Electing Trump as President will go down in history books as the single most terrible event of the 21st Century…

    • Donald Christie Jr

      U.S. soldiers in IRAN, Greg? I that what Faux Snooze is telling you, now?

      • Greg Poliquin

        OOOO OOOO you got me there sonny! I said Iran when I meant Iraq. Turbin is still a stinking liar and he did say all those things about our soldiers. By the way check your own spelling, I think you meant to say “Is” that what. Then check your history. Never trust the mainstream media or the Godless democrats!

  • CLibbey

    Trump is accurate in his description of these ___ ____ countries. Most are run by dictatorships who keep get voted in by their “citizens.” The dictatorships fleece their own people to the point where they are severely oppressed and starved and abused by the militaries. YET-The US government continues to send money their way. Haiti, Somalia, etc, etc, etc. I am glad Trump said what he did–it gives the rest of us food for thought and just puts more of these countries on my “Never Visit These Countries” list. That’s not “racist”, it’s “realistic.”

  • candiceanne

    What is horribly embarrassing is having Maine’s Congressional Delegation jump on every FAKE NEWS story that hits the media as soon as it hits. How about VERIFYING a thing actually occurred or actually was said before speaking? Now wouldn’t that be refreshing. Take a breath, wait 24-48 hours, chances are, WaPo and CNN will be issuing a retraction and you 4 can stop looking bad and worse, making Maine look bad.

    While we now know Trump did not say what Deceitful Dick Durbin, known for lying many times in the past, briefed a group that was NOT AT the meeting to tell the press along with him was made up by Durbin, and WaPo, CNN etc, have retracted, Maine’s delegations bad behavior isn’t going to be easily or publicly retracted. Shame on them for being fooled yet again.

    • FrankE

      I’ll give you credit for this Candice, you do have a magnificent imagination. Your a bit on the naive side, but hey, your kind make the world laugh………..