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Did Trump REALLY says Haitian refugees have AIDS? Internet slams 'racist fearmongering'

Trump also alleged that many countries were 'emptying out their prisons into the United States,' continuing his anti-immigrant tirade
Former US President Donald Trump was slammed for his racist comments on Haiti, something he has echoed in the past as well, while in office (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Former US President Donald Trump was slammed for his racist comments on Haiti, something he has echoed in the past as well, while in office (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump — who famously called Mexican immigrants “rapists” at the start of his presidential campaign in 2015, setting the tone for his subsequent four-year reign — has once again made a wild claim about Haitian immigrants on Thursday night, October 7. Trump suggested that the thousands of Haitian migrants who are reported to be heading for the US-Mexico border are afflicted by AIDS.

As per a Reuters report, last month thousands of mostly Haitian migrants crossed into Del Rio, Texas. Thousands then retreated back to Mexico to avoid being deported from the United States to Haiti. Most Haitians do not qualify for asylum in Mexico because they left home years ago for economic reasons, said Andres Ramirez, head of the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR). Most resettled in Brazil and Chile after Haiti's devastating 2010 earthquake and are heading north due to poor economic prospects in their adopted countries, Ramirez told Reuters. "They're not really refugees, they don't even want to be refugees," he said. "The majority want to get to the United States."


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On Thursday, Trump appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show via telephone and made unsubstantiated claims. Trump, who referred to Haiti and African nations as "shithole countries" during a meeting with a bipartisan group of senators at the White House in 2018, told Hannity, “We have hundreds of thousands of people flowing in from Haiti. Haiti has a tremendous AIDS problem. AIDS is a step beyond. AIDS is a real bad problem.”


“So hundreds of thousands of people are coming into our country that if you look at the stats, if you look at the numbers, if you look at — just take a look at what’s happening in Haiti, a tremendous problem with AIDS,” the former president added. “Many of those people will probably have AIDS and they’re coming into our country and we don’t do anything about it. We let everybody come in. Sean, it’s like a death wish. It’s like a death wish for our country.”

As per the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), in 2020, there were an estimated 140,000 - 170,000 Haitians living with HIV. Per UNAIDS, HIV incidence per 1000 in Haiti is 0.45. Trump also alleged that many countries were “emptying out their prisons into the United States,” continuing his anti-immigrant racist tirade. “I hear it’s 50 countries! They are emptying out their prisons into the United States,” Trump said. “Their jails, some of the toughest people on earth are being dumped into the United States because they don’t want them. They don’t want to take care of them for the next 40 years!”

“So these people that are the roughest prisoners there are anywhere are being dumped into the United States for us to take care of. What are they doing? They’re destroying our country,” the twice-impeached president said. 

Former U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held in the Hyatt Regency on February 28, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

As per a December 2017 New York Times report, a plainly enraged Trump had reportedly read aloud from a document given to him by his domestic policy adviser, Stephen Miller, just before a meeting — the incident occurred at the Oval Office in June 2017. The document listed how many immigrants had received visas to enter the United States in 2017. Haiti had sent 15,000 people. They “all have AIDS,” he had grumbled, according to one person who attended the meeting and another person who was briefed about it by a different person who was there.

In 2015, Trump notoriously said, "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

On Twitter, Trump was slammed for his racist fearmongering. “AIDS is not an airborne disease — there are treatments for AIDS. This racist narrative of brown people carrying diseases to harm white ppl when, historically, the inverse has almost always been the case — FFS, man,” said one tweet. Another said, “This is it, folks. It's not about tax policy, debts ceilings, or mask mandates. All of those things are smokescreens for what really animating the GOP base. Full. Bore. White. Nationalism.”

One person wrote, “This is appallingly offensive to Haitians and people with HIV. HIV is not airborne and is easily treatable with fantastic meds (though access is a challenge). Haitians coming into the US isn’t a problem, especially this insane claim. This racist fear-mongering has to stop.” Another person said, “This is literally a 30-year-old, hate-filled lie that Trump is still repeating in 2021. This awful attack has found its way through our legal and political systems time and time again since the early days of AIDS.”