In a blistering op-ed for Time on Friday, Sean Penn called president Donald Trump “an enemy of mankind” and “an enemy of the state” over reported remarks about Haiti, El Salvador and African nations that have been widely condemned as racist.
On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that President Trump asked, during a meeting with GOP lawmakers, “Why are we having all these people from sh-thole countries come here?” instead of from countries like Norway. Trump later said he used “tough” language but denied that he said “sh-thole.”
In the essay marking the eight year anniversary of the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake, Penn talked about his experiences as a volunteer, and about his experience with the Haitian people. Including those who emigrate to the United States, whose children he said have higher education rates higher than the general population. “While Haitian immigrants typically arrive in the United States with lower levels of education and income than the general population, they sacrifice as parents to scrap and save and to ensure that their children can make the most of the opportunity to be here,” he wrote. “They contribute. And there is no disputing the value they add to American society.”
Penn then noted Trump’s reported comments, saying that his “words describing the glorious people of Africa, El Salvador and Haiti is far worse than mere insensitivity or even nationalism. Those standards are not disgraceful enough.”
“We will find unity,” Penn concluded, “only when we recognize that in our current president we have elected, perhaps for the first time in our history, an enemy of compassion. Indeed, we can be unified not only with each other but with Africa, El Salvador, Haiti, Mexico, the Middle East and beyond if we recognize President Donald Trump is an enemy of Americans, Republicans, Democrats, Independents and every new child born. An enemy of mankind. He is indeed an enemy of the state.”