President Donald Trump denied making racist comments about Black immigrants, including the statement that Haitians “all have AIDS,” CNN reported. The president, given his racist comments in the past, probably did make the remark, which perpetuates misinformation about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Haiti.
“General Kelly, General McMaster, Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Nielsen, and all other senior staff actually in the meeting deny these outrageous claims and it’s both sad and telling the New York Times would print the lies of their anonymous ‘sources’ anyway,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
During a meeting in June on the administration’s immigration policy, the president said Haiti has sent about 15,000 people to the United States and they “all have AIDS,” the New York Times reported. He also said the 40,000 Nigerians who come to the United States to visit will not want to “go back to their huts” in Africa. The Times based its story on two unnamed officials. One of them was at the meeting, which also included White House adviser Stephen Miller who gave Trump a list of how many immigrants received visas to enter the United States in 2017.
As usual, Trump is uninformed. Haiti, like many other countries, struggled to contain the HIV/AIDS outbreak that spread rapidly in the 1980s. However, since 2010, new HIV infections have decreased by 25 percent and AIDS-related deaths have decreased by 24 percent, according to UNAIDS. In fact, Haiti is one of the success stories in the developing world. Some experts predicted in the 1980s that the disease would kill about a third of the island’s population. Instead, a coordinated effort among health care professionals and various organizations slowed and then reduced the infection rate.
As far as Trump’s denial goes, lots of folks on social media are saying that the racist comments fit his pattern: