Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri took issue with President Donald Trump’s alleged criticism of Haiti and African countries as “s–thole” nations during a bipartisan meeting at the White House on Thursday, ESPN reported.
“I don’t think it’s fair, and I don’t think it’s what inspiring leadership can be,” Ujiri told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “What sense of hope are we giving people if you are calling where they live, and where they’re from, a s–thole?
“Just because someone lives in a hut, that doesn’t mean that isn’t a good person, that that person can’t do better, that person isn’t capable of being great. And just because it’s a hut — whatever that means — doesn’t mean it’s not a home. God doesn’t put anyone someplace permanently. I am a living testimony to that. If I grew up in a s–thole, I am proud of my s–thole.”
Ujiri, 47, was born and raised in Nigeria before coming to the U.S. to play college basketball in North Dakota and Montana. Following a brief professional career, Ujiri began a unique climb up the basketball ranks to become the Nuggets’ vice president of basketball operations in 2010, and the Raptors’ president of basketball operations in 2013.
Trump has denied using the term, but several attendees said that the president questioned why the United States should accept immigrants and refugees from “s–thole countries.”
“He said, ‘Haitians. Do we need more Haitians?’,” said Durban, as reported by CNN. “Then he went on and started to describe the immigration from Africa that was being protected in this bipartisan measure. That’s when he used these vile and vulgar comments, calling the nations they come from ‘s–tholes.’ The exact word used by the President. Not just once but repeatedly. That was the nature of this conversation.”
In June, Trump was reported to have said that Nigerians would never “go back to their huts” after living in the U.S., and that Haitians “all have AIDS.”