COACHELLA VALLEY, Calif. - The nation is reacting to comments President Trump made on Thursday while he rejected a pitch from a bipartisan team of senators on a compromise immigration deal and, according to sources briefed on the meeting, he made disparaging comments about Haiti, El Salvador and parts of Africa
Trump said likens El Salvador and other areas were "sh--hole-countries." In Mecca, where there is a sizable Salvadoran community, residents are reacting to the president's controversial comments.
"You can't really do that to people. You know, not everybody's the same. Not everything is like that. It's just not right," said Joseph Rodriguez, a proud Salvadoran-American whose family owns a El Salvador II in Indio.
Rodriguez said people from El Salvador are hard workers and are simply searching for a better life in the United States. "You know, help their families. You know, make sure their kids get a proper education, maybe sometimes better than they could get."
Rodriguez said he found it very inappropriate to hear the comments from an authority figure such as the president, "To be saying those crude remarks, it's not right. It really doesn't go good with you or what you're representing or trying to represent," he said.
Elita Chavez, a resident of Mecca, said she was appalled to hear the remarks and pleaded for Trump to show some empathy toward her people.
"We ask our Lord Jesus to soften his heart to let us stay here. We aren't stealing. We are trying to work and help our families," Chavez said.
Rodriguez said, ultimately, nearly all Salvadorans in the U.S. are law-abiding people trying to make a positive change.
"Not everybody just wants to be in trouble. Everyone just wants to better themselves, you know?" he said.
On Friday, Trump denied making the controversial comment. He also denied demanding that Haitians be removed from negotiations about temporary protected status for people from certain countries.
"The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made - a big setback for DACA!" Trump tweeted.
Noticias en español: Telemundo 15