Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — who says he corrected President Trump when he allegedly made a comment about African countries being a “shithole” — made a similar comment in 2013, calling Mexico and other Central American countries a “hellhole.”
Graham, in 2013, said during a Senate panel discussion that Mexico and other countries the majority of illegal aliens are deriving from are a “hellhole.”
Graham said at the time:
The people coming across the southern border live in hellholes. They don’t like that. They want to come here. Our problem is we can’t have everybody in the world who lives in a hellhole come to America
There are 11 million people coming through the southern border ‘cause they come from countries where they can’t find work, and life is miserable. So it seems to me that if you can control who gets a job you’ve gone a long way in controlling illegal immigration. Because as long as the jobs are available in America you can’t build a fence high enough to stop people.
Then-Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) — a long proponent of immigration policy that serves the interests of the American people — corrected Graham, saying, “It’s not a hellhole, it has great things going on in Mexico, we’re proud of the people in Mexico.”
Graham responded to Sessions, saying, “You’re right. I wasn’t slandering Mexico, I was just talking about all the places people want to leave, for whatever reason.”
Following comments by the President, I said my piece directly to him yesterday. The President and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel. I’ve always believed that America is an idea, not defined by its people but by its ideals.
The American ideal is embraced by people all over the globe. It was best said a long time ago, E Pluribus Unum – Out of Many, One. Diversity has always been our strength, not our weakness. In reforming immigration we cannot lose these American Ideals.
Trump has denied using the word “shithole,” but did say he used “tough” language in the discussion about the large numbers of foreign nationals who arrive in the U.S. from under-developed regions of the world.