Former US President, Donald Trump, has sparked outrage by claiming that immigrants from Haiti are likely spreading AIDS to the US. Speaking on Sean Hannity’s primetime show on Fox News, the controversial former President said: “We let everybody come in. It’s like a death wish, like a death wish for our country!”
During the show, Trump was questioned about COVID-19 testing protocols for refugees, prompting Trump to spout several unfounded claims about immigrants. He even claimed that other countries were conspiring against the US.
Trump said: “There’s one other thing that nobody talks about. So we have hundreds of thousands of people flowing in from Haiti. Haiti has a tremendous AIDS problem. AIDS is a step beyond. AIDS is a real bad problem.”
Emptying out prisons
Trump also claimed that dozens of countries are ‘emptying out their prisons’ and ‘purposely sending newly-released prisoners to America’.
The former US President said: “I hear it’s 50 countries! They are emptying out their prisons into the United States. Their jails, some of the toughest people on earth are being dumped into the United States because they don’t want them. They don’t want to take care of them for the next 40 years.”
As excepted, Trump’s comments sparked a backlash online. Some users pointed out his previous racist statements while others also pointed toward the Trump administration’s own inability to deal with COVID.
Twitter user Tim Faulkner wrote: “Not a joke. Trump is spewing about people coming in from Haiti and ‘they all have AIDS’ but he doesn’t give a sh*t that he killed over 600,000 Americans from COVID.”
Meanwhile, WLRN reporter Danny Rivero, tweeted: “I really try not to share much about the 30 emails a day I get from Trump (most is conspiracies and just asking for money) but holy crap here he is reaching back to the most rancorous stereotype aimed at the Haitian people from 30+ years ago.”
History of racism
Trump is no stranger to making racist and anti-immigrant comments. In 2017, a report published by the New York Times claimed that during a briefing with his advisors, Trump had said that 15,000 Haitians sent by the nation’s government to the US ‘all had AIDS’. However, at the time, the White House vehemently denied that Trump had made these remarks.
Meanwhile, in 2018, when asked a question about Haiti, Trump said he wanted immigrants from countries like Norway, not sh*thole countries.
“Why are we having all these people from s**thole countries come here?” the former President reportedly said, when asked about immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as part of a bipartisan immigration bill.
Twitter user Mike Mann tweeted: “Trump is attempting to leverage xenophobia, homophobia, and racism to ignite his base again. Today proclaiming an enormous grave risk to America due to illegal Haitians with AIDS crossing the border. Remember his obsession to make Mexicans in to rapists....A one trick sociopath.”
Contrary to Trump’s baseless claim, the prevalence of HIV among Haitian adults aged 15 to 49 is around 1.9%, according to United Nations data. Although this is higher than the global rate of 0.7%, reports indicate that Haiti’s HIV prevalence rate has declined significantly in recent decades.
Back in the 1980s, Haitians were stigmatized as a high risk group for AIDS who brought the disease into the US – a false assertion that wiped out Haiti’s tourism industry and triggered increased incidences of racism.
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