Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) defended President Donald Trump's comments about Haiti by saying that the conditions there were "disgusting" and "deplorable." MSNBC host Chris Hayes appeared to be shocked by his comments.
Here's the video of his comments on MSNBC:
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) January 17, 2018
Here's what he said:
"So you think it is, you agree with the president's characterization?" Hayes asked.
"I agree that Haiti is a place where the people have been very unfortunately disadvantaged as a consequence of long-term corrupt governments," Gaetz responded, "and I can't say that I see that it's getting much better."
"I think the president is objecting as a consequence of those countries not contributing to the immigration process in America in a way that benefits our country principally," he explained. "The president has indicated that we're going to have an 'America First' immigration agenda, not an agenda that looks at the needs of people in other countries before the needs of Americans."
When asked if Trump was overgeneralizing about an entire country, Gaetz responded, "I would not pick those terms, but I would say that the conditions in Haiti are deplorable, they are disgusting. I mean it's everywhere you look in Haiti, it's sheet metal and garbage."
"I think you should think," Hayes said, stumbling a little, "maybe, I would suggest, why people would find that kind of characterization of the place where people live and have pride and love of the place they're from, as derogatory."
"Look, there are very bad conditions in Haiti!" said Gaetz. "Look, it's accurate, go there and look around!"
Trump denied saying the comments that some in the meeting last week on immigration said they heard. Democrats and critics of the president have said that the comments were "racist," while some of his allies have said that they were simply accurate.