Local political leaders

From left: Talladega Republican Party Chairwoman Gina Grant, Talladega Democratic Party Chairman Dante Whittaker and Talladega County NAACP Chairman the Rev. Hugh Morris. 

File photo

TALLADEGA -- The leaders of the Talladega County Democratic Party and Talladega County chapter of the NAACP were critical of President Donald Trump following statements allegedly made during a discussion about  immigration Thursday. The chairwoman of the Talladega County Republicans said she hoped the comments weren’t true but added she was more concerned about other issues.

Trump’s alleged comments during a closed door discussion on immigration reform have drawn strong reactions from people of all political persuasions.

During a meeting Thursday, the president allegedly made statements questioning why “are we having all these people from s---hole countries coming here,” referring to Haiti, El Salvador and several countries in sub-Saharan Africa, then bemoaning the fact that there were not more immigrants coming from countries like Norway.

During the same meeting, Trump also allegedly said, “Why do we need more Haitians. Take them out.”

Some 15 hours after word of Trump’s alleged comments became generally known, he Tweeted that he had used tough language during the discussion of immigration policy but denied using the language alleged.

Some Trump supporters have defended the statements, if he made them at all, as being representative of the way “real Americans” talk to each other about these issues. Others have been troubled by the statements.

Gina Grant, chairwoman of the Talladega County Republican Party, said Friday that “there has been a lot going on at the state and local level recently. What I have heard certainly sounded unpleasant, but I have not read or listened to anything about it, so I can’t really comment. I know the president denied saying it, but I would really need to read up more.

“It kind of gets into a ‘he said, she said’ kind of situation, and you have to draw a line between who’s correct and who isn’t … I don’t know if he said it or not, but the White House doesn’t seem to be overly concerned about it. I hope he didn’t say it, but I am more concerned with lower taxes and better job prospects and economic growth. Immigration has to be looked at, too, but you have to look at it objectively, legal and illegal both.”

She cited the website www.numbersusa.com, which is run by both liberals and conservatives, and “looks at facts. You have to look at what this country can support, not just financially, but in terms of water, food, homes and places to bury the dead. You can’t just consider where we are now, you have to look at where we will be 20, 30 or 50 years down the road. We’re all living longer now and we have to look at what we’re going to be able to support. You need a fair, realistic look at our resources, not based on the person or their nationality.”

Grant characterizes herself as “a reader, because things tend to be more thought out in print. With TV or the internet, things tend to be more knee-jerk.”

Dante Whittaker, chairman of the Talladega County Democratic Party, characterized the alleged statements as “despicable, horrible. If you go back and look, as far back as December 2015, the Talladega County Democratic Party warned voters about this before we even got this president. Now our worst nightmares are coming true. It’s sad, and it’s even sadder to see Republicans rally around him, encourage him and create this kind of atmosphere. It’s a sad day for our country. It is despicable, it is deplorable.”

The Rev. Hugh Morris, chairman of the Talladega County chapter of the NAACP, said he’s concerned about how Trump’s character is shaping the future of the nation.

“Donald Trump is the president of the U.S., like it or not. I can't understand how we stand idly by and watch a man who is totally bereft of any morals and standards continue to drag us down the proverbial moral s---hole,” Morris wrote in a statement emailed to The Daily Home. “I'm not surprised anymore with what comes out of Trump's mouth. Where are our standards? How low do we have to go in the name of prosperity? I'm glad I'm not my 20s. I won't have to see the rippling effect this president's character is going to have on our descendants. But I do know one thing, GOD is in control ( “and we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”)

Efforts to reach the offices of Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, and Sens. Richard Shelby and Doug Jones were unsuccessful.