Donald Trump’s viciously racist comments on Thursday, made during a bipartisan meeting on immigration reform, were inflammatory not merely because he called Haiti, El Salvador, and a number of African nations “shithole countries.” Those countries that put his bigotry on worldwide display (and brought shame to America) are actually worth billions in trade to the US.
$46.6 billion, to be exact.
In 2015, the US engaged in $37 billion worth of two-way trade in goods with countries in sub-Saharan Africa, which make up most of the continent, according to numbers from the Office of the US Trade Representative.
According to Newsweek, the US exported $18 billion worth of goods, and imported $19 billion—making for a relatively modest trade deficit of $1 billion. Trump has often railed against the trade imbalance with China, which stood at a deficit of more than $300 billion in 2016.
Trade with sub-Saharan Africa is largely made up of crude oil imports, $11.7 billion of which came from Nigeria. In December, The New York Times reported Trump said last year that people from Nigeria who came to the US would never “go back to their huts” in Africa.
Trump also smeared El Salvador and Haiti, but US trade with those countries is much lower. The US exported $1.1 billion worth of goods to Haiti, and imported $899 million in goods from in 2016—a total of $2 billion in two-way trade.
Trade with El Salvador totaled $7.6 billion in 2015, according to the most recent data—we exported $4.3 billion and took in $3.3 billion in imports, making for a trade surplus on the American side. Early this week the Trump administration moved to return as many as 200,000 Salvadorans who sought safety in the US following an earthquake in 2001.
During Thursday’s meeting Thursday, Trump asked, “Why do we need more Haitians?” and told lawmakers—including Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC)—to “take them out” of the immigration reforms being presented.
Last month, the New York Times reported that in June 2017, Trump made derogatory remarks about Haitians during a meeting in which he seized on immigration reform, saying they “all have AIDS.”
What do YOU think?
*Please let us know in the comments section below!*