American evangelicals have been divided over U.S. President Donald Trump's latest remarks on immigration in which he questioned why their country should open its doors to immigrants from Haiti and Africa.
According to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Trump had questioned why the U.S. would welcome immigrants from Haiti and other "s******* countries" in Africa during an Oval Office meeting on Jan. 11. The comments prompted a divide where some evangelicals continued showing their support for him but there were also some conservatives who said church leaders ought to condemn him, The Associated Press reported.
"Your pro-life argument rings hollow if you don't have an issue with this xenophobic bigotry," said Relevant Life Church pastor Earon James in a Twitter post.
Southern Baptist Convention former president Pastor Ronnie Floyd, on the other hand, spoke against devaluing any person. South Carolina pastor Mark Burns, although skeptical of the reports about the vulgar comment, said if those were true, Trump was probably just reacting to the poor living conditions in the African nations.
However, White House evangelical adviser Johnnie Moore said reports of Trump's comments were "absolutely suspect and politicized." Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) said the president did not use the offensive term during the Oval Office meeting.
Meanwhile, Trump said he was "totally misrepresented" by people who relayed the supposed vulgar remarks about African nations. The president added that the issue was affecting their efforts to seal a deal that would benefit Dreamer immigrants, BBC News relayed.
In addition, Trump denied accusations that he was a racist. He said he uses "tough" language, but he did not use the ones quoted in the news reports.
Nevertheless, the reported remarks about Haiti and Africa sparked outrage worldwide. A spokesman from the United Nations described the comments as "racist," and some people demanded that Trump apologize for what he said.