Congressman Gaetz defends Trump's, his own comments about immigrants
Congressman Matt Gaetz is defending President Trump's comments about Haiti, El Salvador and various African nations. During an MSNBC interview, Gaetz said conditions in Haiti are deplorable and disgusting.
He also said "everywhere you look in Haiti is sheet metal and garbage". This follows President Trump's alleged comments during a closed Oval Office meeting on immigration.
The president supposedly used an expletive when referring to Haiti, El Salvador and African countries. In this week's Connect to Congress, Gaetz said his own comments were not directed towards the people of Haiti but to the correct government there.
"I absolutely stand by that comment, I also said that the people of Haiti have not deserved the government and the corruption that they've had to deal with," Gaetz said. "Unfortunately, their circumstances in Haiti that truly are deplorable and bad environmentally, from an education, health care standpoint. I've stood in 90-degree weather with no air conditioning in the AIDS clinics in Haiti, personally observing how bad the conditions are there and after meeting with the president I'm not hopeful the conditions are getting better. You know what his top priority was, it wasn't better schools, it wasn't better roads, it wasn't a healthier population, he wants an army, and he wants the United States to pay for it. So I think there are bad circumstances in Haiti now, they're not the fault of the people, I included that during my interview on MSNBC last night and I stand by it 100 percent."
All this conversation had to do with immigration and people coming to this country. There was a follow up question, where Gaetz was asked if he'd be upset if someone said something dispariaging about Okaloosa County.
"An MSNBC host asked what my response would be if he called my home county a s***hole and my response was that I'd bring him there and show him that Okaloosa County is gorgeous, it's beautiful, its people are patriotic and dynamic. I absolutely defended Okaloosa County when it was attacked by a liberal television host and I would do so again," Gaetz said.
Where do you see those efforts on a deal on DACA today?
"I think there is an agreement to be had but, Sue, this wasn't an election about DACA. If this was an election about DACA, Hillary Clinton would have won it. Donald Trump won this election because it was about border security, so I'm trying to focus the Congress on the very good measures that have passed out of the Judiciary Commitee: E-verify, ending chain migration, ensuring that we don't have a Visa lottery system that stands in the place of a true merit-based system that would bring the best and brightest to the United States of America. So there are good, bi-partisan ideas, unfortunately, Democrats have seized on this comment by the president behind closed doors as a basis to stop negotiating. I think the Democrats don't really want a solution here, if they did, we could forge one but this is too valuable politically for too many Congressional Democrats, they want to keep the controversy alive rather than actually passing legislation that deals with DACA at the same time as securing our border and ending the flawed immigration system that so many Americans rejected in this last election by voting for Donald Trump," Gaetz said.
How can that be avoided? Are we going to avoid it?
"I certainly don't want to see the government shut down, but it's deeply frustrating to me that a year into the Republican control of the Congress, we continue with Continuing Resolutions. And for folks watching at home, when you hear that Congress is voting for for a continuing resolution, that's to keep doing things the same way: keep funding Obamacare, keep funding Planned Parenthood, keep funding entitlements for illegal aliens. I don't wanna keep doing things the same way, I wanna do things differently, and that's why I voted against every continuing resolution. That said, we're gonna do everything we can to avoid a shutdown in the government. We know the impact that that has on Northwest Florida families, so many of whom have employment tied to the federal government, so hopefully, we'll be able to reach a solution that sets us on a path to more fiscal responsibility and doesn't just blindly vote to keep doing things the same way," Gaetz said.
Do you have a problem with some members of your own party?
"I look at the successes that we've had. Look at tax reform. During the Obama Administration we were told that we couldn't have 3 percent growth and now we're bumping up against that and really seeing this economy take off to its full potential. We've seen countless companies provide for wage increases and bonuses for employees - injecting that right into the economy and ensuring that there's more growth at every single level of income that we see in this great nation. I'm proud of that work that we've done, also the tens of thousands of pages of regulations that have been repealed. The fact that now people can be fired at the VA as a consequence of a bill Congress passed over 800 of them have been replaced, bringing new blood into that agency that provides critical service to so many Northwest Floridians. So, look, I think there's been a lot of wins in 2017 but in 2018, I want more. I wanna make sure that we reform our entitlement system, that we have an infrastructure plan that rebuilds this country and that we rebuild our military so that our friends and neighbors in Northwest Florida don't go downrange without the training or equipment they need to come back safely. Those will be our priorities and if we get them done, we'll be tired of winning in 2018.
We included the entire interview for you to watch: