Politics

Scottsdale Legislator Jay Lawrence Agrees With Trump about 'Shithole' Countries

Arizona State Representative Jay Lawrence at a 2016 summit in Phoenix.
Arizona State Representative Jay Lawrence at a 2016 summit in Phoenix. Gage Skidmore/flickr
State Representative Jay Lawrence, a Republican, apparently agrees with Trump’s racist remarks that Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries are “shitholes.”

During a back-and-forth Friday, Lawrence commented on Facebook, “Trump’s reference to certain places in the world was accurate.”
State Rep. Jay Lawrence of Scottsdale commented on a thread that Trump's reference to Haiti and other countries as "shitholes" was "accurate." - SCREENGRAB/FACEBOOK
State Rep. Jay Lawrence of Scottsdale commented on a thread that Trump's reference to Haiti and other countries as "shitholes" was "accurate."
screengrab/Facebook
In another comment in the same thread, Lawrence wrote, “You Trump haters will use anything to deride a great president.”

During an Oval Office negotiation on Thursday, Trump asked lawmakers, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” His comment singled out immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries in the context of an immigration deal and deportation protections.

click to enlarge State Rep. Jay Lawrence. - STEPHEN LEMONS
State Rep. Jay Lawrence.
Stephen Lemons
As if we needed any more evidence at this point that the president is a huge racist, Trump followed up this comment by suggesting the U.S. accept more immigrants from places like Norway. Yeah.

Lawrence has represented LD-23, which includes Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, and Rio Verde, since 2015. He is a former conservative talk show host on radio station KTAR (92.3 FM) and once had a bit part in a William Shatner movie, according to his online bio.

The posts from Lawrence's Facebook account started circulating on Friday afternoon as liberal constituents reacted with astonishment at Lawrence's endorsement of Trump's words, which were ignorant and unapologetically bigoted at face value.

Lawrence did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The Facebook thread originated when a liberal-minded user, Amy McMullen, posted about a bill sponsored by Lawrence, HB 2007. The legislation is designed to criminalize wearing a disguise at a protest, a patently unconstitutional move born out of right-wing fever dreams of masked protesters, I guess.

But the comments on Facebook quickly spiraled into other territory, and when someone referenced Trump's Thursday tirade, Lawrence stepped in to defend his president.

While it's no surprise that Trump is — say it with me — a racist, at least it's revealing when local elected officials feel compelled to defend Trump's comments to the end.

Antonia Noori Farzan contributed reporting.

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Joseph Flaherty is a staff writer at New Times. Originally from Wisconsin, he is a graduate of Middlebury College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Contact: Joseph Flaherty