Ex-governor general Michaëlle Jean calls reported Trump comments 'troubling, offensive'
Former Canadian governor general Michaëlle Jean, who was born in Haiti, has condemned Donald Trump's reported derogatory comments about that country and unnamed African countries.
"Today, January 12, marks the commemoration of the earthquake that devastated Haiti eight years ago," Jean said in a statement, "and it was so disturbing this morning to hear President Trump's comments reported all over the news calling my poor native land and African countries 'shithole' nations.
"It is such an insult before humanity. For the First Representative of the United States of America to speak in such a manner is quite troubling and offensive."
The U.S. president is reported to have referred to "shithole countries" in Africa, questioned why the United States would take more people from Haiti, and expressed a preference for people from Norway while he was meeting with lawmakers in the White House on Thursday.
After an initial series of reports were published on Thursday night, a subsequent report on Friday morning suggested that Trump might not have described Haiti as a "shithole."
Jean was born in Haiti and came to Canada as a child. She was governor general in 2010 when Haiti was hit by a massive earthquake that devastated large portions of the country, killing tens of thousands of people and displacing many more.
Jean visited the country shortly after the quake and, after her term as governor general ended, she was named UNESCO's special envoy to Haiti. She is also currently secretary general for La Francophonie, a coalition of 58 French-speaking countries, including several African nations.
Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes also responded to reports of Trump's comments on Thursday evening.
"#Shithole countries?" she tweeted. "They weren't shithole when their people were building America. They weren't shithole when you were extracting resources and raiding the land. They weren't shithole then, and they certainly aren't now."