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Voters Laughed Out Loud At This GOP Senator's Attempt To Defend Trump's "Shithole" Comments

For future reference, Norway was not the best example of a country Trump "is standing up for." 😬

Last updated on January 16, 2018, at 5:17 p.m. ET

Posted on January 16, 2018, at 12:41 p.m. ET

At a constituent event in Red Oak, Iowa, on Sunday, voters laughed out loud at Republican Sen. Joni Ernst's attempt to defend President Trump's "shithole countries" comments.

Rural Iowa voters laugh out loud at Republican Senator Joni Ernst’s defense of Trump.

The event occurred following reports that Trump had referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as "shithole countries" during an Oval Office meeting on immigration.

"Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump asked lawmakers, a source close to the negotiations told BuzzFeed News.

He also suggested that the United States should bring in more people from countries like Norway.

On Sunday, Trump denied that he'd made these comments and said he's "the least racist person you have ever interviewed."

After multiple constituents asked about Trump's comments, Ernst tried to defend the president as a friend of other countries. It...didn't go so well.

KETV / Via

"He is standing up for a lot of the countries that...where we have seen" Ernst said.

"Name a few. Could you name a few?" one constituent asked Ernst.

"Yeah, you bet. Norway is one of them," Ernst said, without a hint of irony.

Many people in the room burst out laughing.

"You know, you laugh, but folks, who borders Norway?" Ernst asked. "Russia!"

People think the moment was pretty unintentionally hilarious.

OK, I did not expect that. That was pretty funny

I’m just dead laughing right now ! 😂

"I'll be here all week, folks. Try the veal, and tip your waiter." -Joni Ernst

And many are calling for Iowans to vote her out in 2020.

This is madness. Iowans need to get rid of her already.


You mean ex Iowa Senator after her next election.


Ernst is up for reelection in 2020. An earlier version of this story misstated the year.


In an email to BuzzFeed News, a spokesperson for Ernst said she mentioned Norway because it was on her mind given the Norwegian Prime Minister's recent White House visit. She also said that past presidents have emphasized the importance of a relationship between the US and Norway.

"Additionally, as Senator Ernst mentioned, Norway borders Russia — a country that the Senator has made clear is not our friend," she said.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.