Trump, at a fundraiser, says he wants immigrants from “nice” countries

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Former President Donald J. Trump, speaking at a multimillion-dollar fundraiser Saturday night, lamented that people from “nice” countries “like Denmark” were not immigrating to the United States and suggested that his wealthy dinner companions were temporarily except from nearby undocumented immigrants, according to an attendee.

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, made the comments during a roughly 45-minute appearance at a dinner at a mansion owned by billionaire financier John Paulson in Palm Beach, Florida, an exclusive island community.

Guests were seated outdoors at white-clad tables under a white tent, overlooking the canal that divides the wealthy city from the more diverse West Palm Beach, a mainland city, according to the attendee, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the private event, but provided an extensive reading of Trump’s comments.

Dozens of wealthy donors helped write checks that the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee said were worth more than $50 million, an amount that would set a record but had not been verified. Campaign financial reports that include the event date will not be available for months.

Some of Trump’s comments were standard parts of his campaign speeches, while other parts of the speech were tailored to his wealthy audience.

About halfway through his remarks, the aide said, Trump began ranting at length about immigrants entering the United States, at a time when President Biden has been grappling with an intensifying crisis at the southern border.

“These are people who come from prisons and jails. “They come from incredible places and countries, countries that are a disaster,” Trump told his guests, according to the aide. The former president has made a similar statement the center of his campaign speeches.

He then appeared to refer to an episode in his presidency in which he received significant criticism after an Oval Office meeting with federal lawmakers on immigration during which he described Haiti and some African nations as “shithole countries”, compared to places like Norway.

“And when I said: Why can’t we allow people from nice countries to come? “I’m trying to be nice,” Trump said during the dinner, drawing laughter from the crowd. “Beautiful countries, you know like Denmark, Switzerland? Do we have people coming from Denmark? How about Switzerland? How about Norway?

He continued: “And you know, they took it as a very terrible comment, but I felt like it was okay.”

Trump went on to say that there were people coming from Yemen, “where they are blowing each other up everywhere.”

During his rallies, Trump frequently bemoans immigrants from a list of countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East while stoking fears about a surge at the border, which he blames for a rise in crime, which he blames not has been supported by available data.

At the dinner, Trump also lamented the rise of immigrants, particularly from Latin America, and said gang members “make the Hells Angels look like extremely nice people.”

“They have been sent, brought, deposited in our country and they are with us tonight,” Trump said.

“Actually, I don’t think they’re on this island, but I know they’re on that island right there. That’s West Palm,” Trump said, pointing across the water, according to the aide. “Congratulations there. But they will be here. In the end they will be here.”

When asked to comment, a Trump campaign official pointed to an official readout of the former president’s event, which included that he had discussed the border crisis and the tax cuts he enacted while in office. The official did not address the specific quotes and did not respond to a question about whether the campaign was questioning them.

Paulson’s property sits along the canal separating the city of Palm Beach (a wealthy barrier island community that, according to the Census Bureau, is 93.8 percent white) from West Palm Beach, where nearly a One-third of the residents are black and one-quarter are Hispanic.

Trump blamed his successor, Biden, for the influx of immigrants and mocked him and his advisers for what Trump said were poor decisions made around the Resolute Desk, which has been used by two dozen presidents.

“The Resolute Desk is beautiful,” Trump said. “Ronald Reagan used it, others used it.”

He then denigrated Mr. Biden, appearing displeased, according to the aide: “And he’s using it. I may not use it next time. He has gotten dirty. And I mean that literally, which is sad.”

The aide who witnessed the moment said dinner guests laughed and that Trump’s comment was interpreted as the former president saying that Biden had defecated on the desk.

Trump also tried to point out parts of his record that might appeal to the wealthy donors in attendance. He highlighted the tax cuts under his administration and asked attendees if they had a preference for that measure or for his regulations that allowed them to take advantage of specific reductions, according to the attendee.

“The most successful people in the entire country are in this room,” Trump said.

He ended his remarks with a grave assessment of the future of the United States that has characterized his campaigns for the presidency, but with a more apocalyptic tone in 2024.

“This could very well be the last election this country has,” Trump said, using a phrase that has become standard at his rallies. “As far as I’m concerned, the Fourth of July isn’t that important.”

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