During an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Thursday evening, former President Donald Trump suggested without evidence that thousands of Haitian migrants who are reported to be heading for the US-Mexico border are afflicted by AIDS.
Trump, who reportedly called Haiti a “shithole country” in 2018, told Hannity: “You know, there’s one other thing that nobody talks about. Haiti has a tremendous AIDS problem. AIDS is a step beyond. AIDS is a real bad problem. So we have hundreds of thousands of people flowing in from Haiti.”
“Haiti has a tremendous AIDS problem. AIDS is a step beyond, AIDS is a real bad problem. So hundreds of thousands of people are coming into our country, and if you look at the stats, if you look at the numbers, if you just take a look at what’s happening in Haiti, a tremendous problem with AIDS, many of those people will probably have AIDS, and they’re coming into our country. And we don’t do anything about it, we let everybody come in! Sean, it’s like a death wish.”
Trump fearmongers about AIDS among Haitian migrants.
"Look at what's happening in Haiti — a tremendous problem with AIDS. Many of those people will probably have AIDS and they're coming into our country… It’s like a death wish, like a death wish for our country." pic.twitter.com/mfBnXKGstS
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) October 8, 2021
The CDC estimates that 1,189,700 people in the United Statesb had HIV at the end of 2019, the most recent year for which this information is available. Of those people, about 87% knew they had HIV. By contrast, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS estimates that 150,000 Haitians are living with HIV.
Business Insider notes: “Contrary to his assertions, the prevalence of HIV among Haitian adults aged 15 to 49 is around 1.9%, according to data from the United Nations. While that’s higher than the global rate of 0.7%, reports say Haiti’s HIV prevalence rate has declined significantly in recent decades. In the 1980s, Haitians were stigmatized as a high risk group for AIDS who brought the disease into the US, a false notion that wiped out Haiti’s tourism industry and perpetuated racism.”
Trump made similar claims in 2017 when he reportedly said at a White House meeting that 15,000 Haitian immigrants who were given US visas “all have AIDS,” according to The New York Times. The White House denied that he used those words.
Trump also alleged that dozens of countries were “emptying out their prisons into the United States,” in an echo of some of his infamous anti-immigration rhetoric from the 2016 campaign.
“Some of the toughest people on earth are being dumped into the United States because they don’t want them,” he said. “They don’t want to take care of them for the next 40 years. So these people that are the roughest prisoners there are anywhere are being dumped into the United States for us to take care of. What are they doing? They’re destroying our country.”
Later in the interview, Trump spoke out against COVID-19 vaccine mandates for people who have already had the disease, telling Hannity that Americans “have to have their freedoms.”
“They want to force people who have had it to have the vaccine when, in actuality, when you have it, you don’t need the vaccine, you become immune,” he said, later adding: “Why are they forcing people to take the vaccine? Remember this, the drug companies make a lot of money and they like it. I don’t know who else wants it, or likes it, but when you get it, you don’t have to take the vaccine.”