U.S. President Donald Trump prompted outrage from the media and political echelons when he allegedly described some African and other countries as “s***holes” in a private meeting with lawmakers about immigration legislation last Thursday. Trump foes immediately accused him of racism when he also allegedly expressed a preference in the same conversation for immigrants from predominantly white Norway. Trump’s mention of the Scandinavian nation may have been a function of the president having just welcomed that country’s Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, to the White House.
An advocate of a merit- or skills-based immigration system regardless of country of origin, Trump has admitted that he used “tough” language in the meeting with senators, but not the specific terminology that leaked to the media. Trump told CNN yesterday that he favors immigrants “from everywhere.” The president has insisted that any congressional compromise about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was an Obama-era executive order, must include an end to both chain migration and the visa lottery process along with funding for the wall at the U.S.-Mexican border. It remains to seen if Republicans and Democrats can find some common ground in crafting legislation, however, that the president is willing to sign.
According to NBC News, Norwegians aren’t that interested in moving to the U.S., given the country’s extensive social welfare benefits funded by oil revenue.
Although the context and the media environment were different, when Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama praised Norway and its neighboring Northern European countries, there were no political repercussions or controversy, Gateway Pundit recalled.
In May 2016, President Obama hosted a summit in Washington for the leaders of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, AP reported at the time.
“As he welcomed the Nordic leaders to the White House, he owned up to thinking perhaps the small havens of social liberalism should take the reins every now and then. He joked: ‘Why don’t we just put all these small countries in charge for a while?’…’The world would be more secure and more prosperous if we just had more partners like our Nordic partners,’ he said.”
In the same 2016 The Atlantic interview in which he described post-Gaddafi Libya as a “s*** show,” Obama seemed to celebrate Scandinavia in behind-the-scenes discussions of ongoing Middle East turmoil.
“In recent days, the president has taken to joking privately, ‘All I need in the Middle East is a few smart autocrats.’ Obama has always had a fondness for pragmatic, emotionally contained technocrats, telling aides, ‘If only everyone could be like the Scandinavians, this would all be easy.'”
Obama’s remarks about Libya and Scandinavia apparently escaped the notice of most news media outlets when they were published.