Trump's America Is A Shithole Country

01_14_18_Donald Trump
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty

On Thursday, during a meeting on immigration, President Donald Trump reportedly referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as "shitholes." U.S. Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, who was present during the discussion, told reporters that Trump used "vile, vulgar" language, an accusation that has since been denied by the president via Twitter: "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!" Georgia Republican Senator David Perdue, who attended the Thursday meeting, also denied the comment, as did Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton.

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!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018

But Trump's denial is nothing new. The president doesn't have to record White House conversations to sway the public's opinion of him. For starters, it hasn't so far worked to his advantage; I'm sure the relationship our current president has with Haitians is just as great as what we know of his relationship with women. Second, we know who he is, and his base knows who he is; we don't need recorded meetings to prove he's a racist.

His insult reveals something else to the public, something arguably more insidious and dangerous to our democracy. Trump's vulgar comment lays bare his total ignorance about the country he now leads. Because, by many standards, the United States, is, in fact, a shithole country.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 23,000 infants died in the United States in 2015. The U.S. has the worst rate of maternal deaths in the developed world, and black women in America are three times more likely to die during childbirth than white women. Those rates are continuing to rise, while they decline elsewhere. An American woman giving birth is three times more likely to die than a Canadian woman, and six times more likely to die than a Scandinavian woman.

A 2017 analysis by the CDC Foundation found that nearly 60 percent of all maternal deaths were completely preventable. And yet, Trump and the complicit Republican Party tried, on three separate occasions, to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature health care bill that gave over 13 million women access to maternity services.

In December, the United Nations began investigating extreme poverty in the U.S., the world's richest country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 41 million Americans live in poverty, with the top one percent of Americans controlling 38 percent of the nation's wealth. Now that the GOP tax bill has been signed into law, our nation's wealth inequality will only increase.

In 2013, a government study found that one military veteran dies by suicide every 65 minutes in this country. Less than half of the reported 22 million United States veterans receive health care through the Veterans Affairs system and instead rely on Medicaid. And if Medicaid expansion is ended, 340,000 veterans would lose their coverage in 2020. While Trump has been recorded, multiple times, promising the American people that he wouldn't cut Medicaid, House Speaker Paul Ryan told congressional Republicans to focus on reducing spending for Medicare and Medicaid in 2018.

The United States is also the only developed nation without mandatory paid maternity leave. According to the Department of Labor, in 2012, nearly one in four new moms went back to work within two weeks of having a baby.

In 2015 an estimated 100,000 to 240,000 women attempted a self-induced abortion in Texas, and researchers suggest that number will rise, thanks to conservatives' relentless attack on reproductive rights. In the 1930s, prior to passing Roe v. Wade, an estimated 2,700 women died due to complications from unsafe abortions.

The United States ranks 38th in math, 24th in science, but number one for number of incarcerated citizens. Despite having the most expensive health care system on the planet, we rank 11th in quality, efficiency, access to care, equity and healthy lives.

Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. A man accused of sexual assault by 19 women is now our president.

From 1966 to 2012, nearly one-third of the world's mass shootings happened in the United States, and Americans own more guns than any other group of citizens in the world. In 2017, 987 American citizens were shot and killed by police officers.

We rank 45th in literacy; our children are going to schools without any heat; and an entire town still doesn't have clean drinking water. At least one-third of the Americans in Puerto Rico still don't have power.

And on Saturday, for 38 minutes, the entire state of Hawaii was thrown into a panic because of a triggered false alarm that sent terrifying text messages to residents, warning them of incoming ballistic missiles and imploring them to seek shelter. The president, at the time, was playing golf.

The idea that this country is above reproach is as absurd as it is dangerous. To continue to believe that we're the greatest country in the world, when all evidence points to the contrary, is to accept fiction as fact. Overlooking the myriad ways in which this government continues to fail its people, especially poor people and people of color, while simultaneously pointing a judgmental finger at other countries isn't the mark of a great nation. It's the mark of a deranged one. Or, to put it in terms Vice President Mike Pence can understand: "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."

We shouldn't be asking immigrants to prove their worth, when this country seems to be unworthy of them. We shouldn't be furthering the "exceptional immigrant" narrative as if poor people must overcome all odds in order to prove they're worthy of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—odds the president himself has never, and will never, face.

But admitting there's a problem is the first step towards eradicating it. America, we have a problem. Part of that problem is sitting in the White House, and a lot of racist shit is coming out of his mouth.

Danielle Campoamor is a lifestyle editor for Bustle's Romper and freelance writer.

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