Arthur Mola/Associated Press
Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri responded to controversial comments reportedly made by President Donald Trump in a meeting with lawmakers during a Thursday meeting at the White House.
Per Josh Dawsey of the Washington Post (warning: link contains NSFW language), Trump was frustrated with lawmakers while discussing protection for immigrants from a number of African countries, Haiti and El Salvador.
“Why are we having all these people from s–thole countries come here?” Trump said.
Ujiri, who was born in Nigeria, was asked about Trump’s comments by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
“I don’t know that just because someone lives in a hut, that doesn’t mean that isn’t a good person, that that person can’t do better, that person isn’t capable of being great. And just because it’s a hut – whatever that means – doesn’t mean it’s not a home. God doesn’t put anyone someplace permanently. I am a living testimony to that. If I grew up in a s–thole, I am proud of my s–thole.”
Ujiri also noted he doesn’t think Trump’s reported remarks are “fair, and I don’t think it’s what inspiring leadership can be.”
“We have to inspire people and give them a sense of hope,” he said. “We need to bring people along, not ridicule and tear them down. This cannot be the message that we accept from the leader of the free world.”
Trump has denied making the comment, saying on Twitter the “language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used.”
Ujiri has been with the Raptors since 2013 when he was hired as general manager. The 47-year-old was named team president in 2016 and has led the franchise to four straight playoff appearances.