Making the U.S. a pariah.
Byline: The Register-Guard
The biggest question Friday about the latest outburst from the Oval Office appears to be whether the president used an exceedingly vulgar term to refer to the nation of Haiti, to the entire continent of Africa - which Trump may or may not be aware is not a country - or to both. It's hard to tell.
After a brief period this week when things seemed to be normal in Washington, D.C., for a change, and Trump was garnering praise for acting presidential in his attempts to broker an immigration deal between Democrats and Republicans in Congress, everything headed south again on Thursday.
Word leaked out after a meeting on immigration between Trump and members of Congress that he had strongly objected to the idea of accepting immigrants from Haiti and Africa. His objection included the use of the vulgar term.
On Friday, Trump - somewhat oddly - did not deny using the term, or clarify its precise usage, but he did vehemently deny via Twitter that he said "take them out" in reference to Haitian immigrants. (Several news outlets reported Trump as saying, "Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here? Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.")
As bizarre as this whole episode is, it needs to be taken seriously. Situations like this are undermining the United States' credibility around the world, alternately making it a laughing stock or a pariah.
No matter how much some conservative supporters of Trump believe the United States should adopt an isolationist stance, walling off borders and refusing to deal with the rest of the world, it's not possible. The economy would collapse and national security would be put at risk.
As condemnation of Trump's latest comments poured in from around the world Friday, the president canceled a planned visit to London, where opposition to his presence has increased. (Trump blamed former President Obama for the cancellation.)
The president's frequent outbursts, outrageous comments and insults are weakening the U.S. abroad and widening divisions at home. If his fellow Republicans don't do something to stop him, they will pay the price.