During a June cabinet meeting held in the Oval Office, President Donald Trump said that Haitian people entering the U.S. “all have AIDS,” according to a New York Times article published Saturday.
The Times reports that Trump, “plainly enraged,” made the comments after domestic policy adviser Stephen Miller gave him a document listing how many immigrants had received U.S. visas during Trump’s presidency, despite his staunch anti-immigration platform.
According to two anonymous sources, one who attended the meeting and another briefed by a different attendee, Trump reportedly grumbled to his national security team that Haitians “all have AIDS” after finding out that 15,000 Haitian immigrants had come to the U.S.
Upon learning that 40,000 people had come to the U.S. from Nigeria, Trump also reportedly commented that they would never “go back to their huts” in Africa after seeing America.
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denies that Trump made any derogatory statements about immigrants during the meeting, adding that Chief of Staff John Kelly, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, and other senior staffers at the meeting also “deny these outrageous claims.”
“It’s both sad and telling The New York Times would print the lies of their anonymous ‘sources’ anyway,” she continues.
The White House’s National AIDS Policy website was taken down the day Trump was sworn in as president, and multiple National HIV/AIDS Policy Council members resigned, citing the administration’s apathy toward fighting HIV. White House budget documents supplied to Congress proposed slashing $350 million from HIV/AIDS funded research.
Trump was criticized earlier this month for omitting LGBT people, people of color, and other at-risk communities in his World AIDS Day address.