San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garcon said it was “embarrassing” for President Donald Trump to ridicule Haiti and other poor countries during a reported rant at the White House on Thursday while discussing immigration policy.
Trump set off a firestorm when, according to a report by the Washington Post and later confirmed by multiple media outlets, he vented: “Why do we want these people from all these (expletive) countries here? We should have more people from places like Norway.”
The President’s alleged comments were uttered during a proposed agreement to allow more immigrants from Haiti and Africa into the United States.
Garcon was born in New York and moved to Florida when he was young, but his parents and three sisters were born in Haiti.
“It was hard to understand why he would even say something like that,” Garcon said in a video interview on Friday with TMZ Sports, per the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s embarrassing, he probably says it in private. … As an adult, as a mature adult, knowing Donald Trump as what we feared before he became president and for him to actually show what he really is as a president, you’re not surprised by what he says.”
Garcon attempted to shed light on the comments via social media. On his Instagram account, he posted a newspaper account of Thursday’s incident that he captioned: “Please let me know how you feel.”
He used the same words on Twitter while posting a link to his Instagram account. Yet, despite his obvious displeasure with the President’s choice of words, Garcon said he would not hold a grudge.
“We forgive him. That’s all we really can do,” Garcon said during the interview. “You can only try to show somebody something, if they don’t want to experience it, that’s their — but we’re happy to be from Haiti, we’re happy to be Haitian immigrants. There’s a lot of Haitian people that are in America that are happy to come here, and happy to be an asset to the country, and take pride in that, and take pride in being an asset to our own country.”
Garcon, who sponsors a foundation to help victims of the 2010 earthquake that ravaged Haiti, said it was important not to take a “fight fire with fire” approach in such situations, although he acknowledged the comments were not easy to ignore or dismiss.
“When you first hear it, you obviously attack, like forget everything. But now it’s like, let’s not get into a shouting match, let’s not stoop down to that level,” Garcon said. “Let’s embrace our country and find more ways to market our country, and invite people to come over and experience it with us.”