Toronto FC striker Jozy Altidore, who is of Haitian descent, took aim at Donald Trump on Monday over the U.S. president’s reported views on immigration.
“It’s just another example of a person that time and time again shows that he’s unfit, whether it be mentally, emotionally, just unable to kind of identify with a country that has moved on in so many ways, that has so many new ideas, so many forward ways of thinking,” Altidore said when asked about Trump’s comments on the opening day of Toronto’s training camp.
“It’s a bit of a shame that we’re being led by a person that doesn’t share those same ideals. So it’s unfortunate to hear those comments again but it’s a narrative that we’ve gotten used to over the past year and unfortunately it’s one that’s grown far too popular.”
Trump, in a private meeting with legislators in January, reportedly challenged immigration from “shithole” African countries, disparaged Haiti and said the U.S. should welcome more immigration from countries like Norway.
Altidore said his parents, at 24 or 25, fled Haiti separately to escape the dictatorship of (Papa Doc) Francois Duvalier. They came with no English and without a dollar to their name.
“They just rolled the dice to come (to the U.S.),” he said.
His father, Joseph, earned an electrical engineering degree and his mother, Giselle, became a nurse. They met on a bus in New Jersey.
“When you hear things and comments like that from Trump and you’re able to grow up and be led by two people like my parents, you know right away that this guy is just out of touch, like I said before, with a country that is moving and growing in leaps and bounds in terms of identifying what makes the U.S. tick which is immigrants — and the ability to accept them from all walks of life and give them opportunity to grow in this country,” he said.
“My parents are living proof of that and so to have a president to then say those things, it’s disappointing.”
Altidore has done his bit to help Haiti, through his charitable foundation founded in 2011. It has raised money for scholarships and to build a well in Haiti to provide clean water.
More recently his foundation helped bring live television coverage of the 2016 Copa America to Haiti.
Altidore had made his feelings about Trump’s comments clear in a Jan. 13 tweet with a photo of himself with hockey star P.K. Subban and star sprinter Usain Bolt.
“Three #shithole dudes just living the dream, @realdonaldtrump,” read the tweet.
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press