I don’t know. This doesn’t sound like the Trump *I* know.

We’re about to enter an especially fun news cycle in which the White House screeches “FAKE NEWS, HE NEVER SAID THAT” while Trump fans screech “HE’S TOTALLY RIGHT” while rattling off their own personal lists of “sh*thole countries.” Alt-righters in particular might literally wank to this story given Trump’s alleged contrast between African countries and a Nordic one.

Personally, as a patriotic American, I think all other countries are sh*tholes.

President Trump grew frustrated with lawmakers Thursday in the Oval Office when they floated restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to two people briefed on the meeting.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to African countries and Haiti. He then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries like Norway, whose prime minister he met yesterday.

The comments left lawmakers taken aback, according to people familiar with their reactions.

It’s not clear who was at the meeting but WaPo suggests Dick Durbin was there to discuss the terrible new immigration proposal. Did Trump really think he was going to say this in front of a Democrat without it being leaked immediately?

Prepare to hear the word “blankhole” a lot on cable news over the next few days. The White House has already issued a statement, by the way — and interestingly, it doesn’t claim WaPo’s story is fake news. There’s no denial here:

That tells me they’re confident, no doubt correctly, that Trump voters will eat the WaPo story up. How it plays internationally with the many sh*thole countries America does business with and depends on for cooperation on counterterrorism is another matter. But that’s easily finessed: Any diplomat who asks the State Department what Trump meant by this will be assured that “of course he wasn’t talking about your homeland.” Except Haiti, I guess.

Twitter pal Kilgore Trout makes a fair point:

That’s the essence of nationalism! “My country has been turned into a sh*thole and will remain so until it elects me to start clearing out the foreigners.” Make America Great Again is premised on the idea that America is a sh*thole. Or was as of January 19, 2017.

This is a fair point too, sort of:

Liberals would gasp in horror that anyone would accuse them of thinking another country is a “sh*thole” (except Syria, maybe), but yes, of course it’s true that poor conditions abroad are a staple of open-borders arguments. In extreme cases like Syria it’s an argument for a generous refugee policy, but the “sh*thole” logic reaches beyond obvious humanitarian disasters. One of the defenses of letting child migrants in during the border surge a few years ago was that their home countries weren’t as safe as they should be thanks to drug cartels and street gangs. It’s not that the left disagrees with the concept of “sh*thole countries.” They just think that’s an argument for immigration to the United States from those places rather than against it.

I sure hope Trump is preparing some sort of politic answer for the first time he’s asked, “Which countries are sh*tholes, Mr. President?” Otherwise, Trump being Trump, he’s just going to blurt out “the brown ones” and then we’ve got a whole new news cycle to deal with. Maybe he’ll do like he did with version three of his travel ban and stick some country in there that subverts the racial/religious narrative. He added Venezuela to the ban to undercut arguments that it was aimed at Muslims. If he wants to undercut arguments that the “sh*tholes” are all black and Latino, may I suggest including Russia?

Here’s Tapper furrowing his brow over Trump’s comment. If nothing else good comes of this, at least Trump got Jake Tapper to curse on live television.

Update: An unlikely source flags a problem with Trump’s logic:

Temporary Protected Status is a sort of temporary refugee designation due to dangerous conditions in a person’s home country. The “sh*thole” talk actually reinforces the idea that places like El Salvador are still dangerous. How do you lift TPS and send El Salvadorans who are currently in the U.S. home if you’re all but admitting that it’s unsafe?

Update: Norwegian socialists versus poor but hard-working Africans. Why would Trump prefer the former to the latter?

Update: A fair retort to theatrical liberal horror at Trump’s comment: