Tue | Feb 20, 2018

Pence defends Trump on disparaging comments about Africa

Published:Tuesday | January 23, 2018 | 12:00 AM

(AP):

US Vice-President Mike Pence yesterday defended President Donald Trump on his recent comments disparaging immi-

gration from Africa and Haiti, telling The Associated Press that the president's "heart" is aimed at a merit-based system that is blind to immigrants' "race or creed".

Pence, in an interview with the AP from Jerusalem, said the president was intent on implementing a merit-based system that encourages immigration by those who will "contribute to a growing American economy and thriving communities.

"I know the president's heart and I know that what President Trump wants to do is reform immigration to make our system one that puts the interests of America first," Pence said. He added that immigrants should be considered on their merits, "regardless of what country they come from or what their race and creed is".

Pence did not directly answer a question about whether Trump's language was appropriate, but said the president's intentions have "everything to do with moving our country to a merit-based system".

He was responding to reports that Trump, in a private meeting with legislators earlier this month, challenged immigration from "s...hole" African countries, disparaged Haiti and said the US should welcome more immigration from countries like Norway.