WASHINGTON – Haitian Defense Minister Herve Denis downplayed on Wednesday the importance of the protests staged in his country after US President Donald Trump allegedly said that the Caribbean nation is a “s---hole.”
“(The protests) are not important for us. I don’t think that (there’s any reason) to take any note of that,” Denis said in Spanish to EFE after participating in an Extraordinary Permanent Council meeting of the Organization of American States in Washington.
In recent days, thousands of Haitians have taken to the streets in their homeland to protest Trump’s supposed remark, which they consider to be “racist,” and they are demanding that their government take firmer action in the face of the insult.
On Monday, the US allowed workers at its embassy in Port-au-Prince to go home early because people were surrounding it, as State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert confirmed in a Tuesday press conference.
When the Haitian defense chief was asked on Wednesday about his government’s position vis-a-vis Trump’s remark, he opted to sidestep the controversy.
“I would much rather talk about the positives. There are many more links between the United States and Haiti than all that. We have a common destiny, we’re going to keep moving forward,” he said.
Denis, who came to the OAS to present a report on national security and defense, also minimized the fact that just one ambassador, Bolivia’s Diego Pary, was at the meeting held on Wednesday – and expressed support for Haiti there – regarding Trump’s “s---hole” comment.
Trump has denied making his incendiary remark about Haiti – along with El Salvador and African nations – although his words were confirmed by a Democratic senator present at the meeting and by several top-tier news organizations, but he did admit to using “tough” language at a bipartisan meeting on immigration.