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Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

Lawmakers and leaders from around the world are condemning President Trump for reportedly complaining about immigrants coming to the U.S. from "shithole countries" during an Oval Office meeting.

Lawmakers respond...

  • Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) who was present at the meeting: "He said these hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly ... I cannot believe that in the history of the White House — in that Oval Office — any president has spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday."
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): Sen. Tim Scott told the Post and Courier that Graham said reports of the remarks are "basically accurate."
  • Sens. David Perdue (R-GA) and Tom Cotton (R-AR): "[W]e do not recall the President saying these comments specifically, but what he did call out was the imbalance in our current immigration system."
  • Former RNC chairman Michael Steele: "Yeah, I do [think Trump is racist]. At this point the evidence is incontrovertible. It's right there."
  • Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): "People have come to this country from everywhere, and people from everywhere have made America great. Our immigration policy should reflect that truth, and our elected officials, including our President, should respect it."
  • House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI): The comments are "very unfortunate" and "unhelpful." Immigration is "a thing to celebrate."
  • Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA): "America is better than this and our president should be too."
  • Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA): "Immigrants from countries across the globe - including and especially those from Haiti and all parts of Africa - have helped build this country. They should be welcomed and celebrated, not demeaned and insulted."
  • Sen. Lanfkord (R-OK): “If these comments are accurate, they are disappointing. I would not talk about nations like this, because I believe the people of those countries are made in the image of God and have worth and human dignity.”
  • Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA): "Donald Trump is a racist and indecent man with no good values who is woefully unfit and undeserving of the office in which he serves ... Congress has a constitutional responsibility to impeach him without delay.”

World leaders respond...

  • Botswana in an official statement via Twitter summoned the U.S. ambassador to the country “to clarify whether Botswana is regarded as a ‘shithole’ country.” It then concluded: "[W]e view the utterances by the current American President as highly irresponsible, reprehensible and racist.”
  • UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville: "I'm sorry, but there's no other word one can use but racist. You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as 'shitholes' whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome."
  • Former Prime Minister of Haiti Laurent Lamothe: "SHAME ON TRUMP! The world is witnessing a new low today ... totally unacceptable! uncalled for moreover it shows a lack a respect and IGNORANCE never seen before in the recent history of the US by any President! Enough is enough!!"
  • Spokeswoman for the African Union continental body: “Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behavior and practice.”

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
14 mins ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.