The New Yorker:
President Trump’s credibility as a world leader has been, to borrow his vulgarity, shot to shit. With one word—just the latest in a string of slurs about other nations and peoples—he has demolished his ability to be taken seriously on the global stage. “There is no other word one can use but ‘racist,’ ” the spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights, Rupert Colville, said at a briefing in Geneva. “You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes,’ whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome.”
On Friday morning, the President offered a tepid denial on Twitter, acknowledging that “tough” language was used in a White House meeting on immigration. Trump has so often glibly smeared other nations, however, that it almost doesn’t matter what “tough” word he used. He has a proven track record of bigotry. He has been quoted as saying that Nigerians will “never go back to their huts” once they visit America, that Africa sends its “worst of the worst” to the U.S., and that Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS.”
As I’ve found (to an embarrassing degree) over the past two years, many senior officials in foreign capitals and in embassies across Washington believe that he is simply articulating his intolerant and prejudiced world view. The White House signalled as much in its damage-control statement, on Thursday, explaining that the President wants to “make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation.”
Trump is now preparing to attend the World Economic Forum, a gathering of global leaders in politics and business, held annually in Davos, Switzerland. Many American allies have long been wary of the President’s “America First” framework. After his remarks this week, the danger is that his counterparts will also view his agenda as “White First”—not a viable strategy in a world that places growing value on racial diversity.
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