On Friday, Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) sat down with WWL-TV's Paul Murphy. During the interview, Kennedy addressed the alleged comments made by President Donald Trump during a discussion on immigration to describe Haiti and African nations that send immigrants to the United States.
Paul: There are comments that are being attributed to our President as describing countries as Haiti and some African nations as fill in the blank, s---hole countries if you will. Is that an appropriate term to be used to describe our allies and are you disappointed that this is what the President had to say?
Kennedy: Well I wish he hadn't of said it. Of course, he’s denied it, and I’m sure the White House will elaborate on it later today if he said it I wish he hadn't. If he meant it to be racial I don’t agree with him. I think the President will probably come out and explain. My experience with the President has been that he’s not a racist. It bothers me that we throw around this allegation being a racist a little too casually now.
Earlier in the week, it hasn’t gotten as much attention, but I know former speaker Nancy Pelosi who criticized five of the people working on the immigration bill on her side as ‘a bunch of white men.’ Well, I wish she hadn't have said that, but I don’t think it was racist or sexist. I mean, she just said it.
I wouldn't have put it the way the President put it, and I wish he hadn't have done it if he did it. And, I’m sure he wishes he could take it back, and he’ll have more to say about it.
Paul: Are you hoping that at some point, or are we too far gone, that we can tap down some of this rhetoric that seems to be a roadblock to a lot of action up on Capitol Hill? It seems like everything is so polarized.
Kennedy: If it’s a roadblock it’s because we let it be a roadblock. What I try to do, this is the first time I’ve commented on something the President has said. I don’t comment on his tweets or anybody’s tweets when I’m asked almost hourly on Capitol Hill because it’s a distraction, and it really is a distraction.
You would be surprised, or maybe you wouldn't be, at how much time during the day when you're responding to repeated media inquiries how much time they spend a day on that kind of stuff.
I understand it’s news, I’m not saying it’s not news, but it is a weapon of mass distraction, but I don't want to sugar coat this, if the President said it he shouldn't have said it, if he meant it from a racial perspective, I don’t agree with him, but my experience with President Trump is he’s not a racist, but I have a feeling we haven’t heard the last of this. My guess is that he’s going to address it.