The Slatest

Trump Administration Has Interesting Thoughts on Race, Industriousness of Norwegian Citizens

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Trump administration’s efforts to argue that it’s OK that the president said our immigration policy should favor Norway over the “shithole” countries in Africa reached new, absurd heights in Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s Tuesday appearance at a Senate hearing. First Nielsen, who was in attendance at the legendary “shithole” meeting between legislators and White House officials, pretended that she didn’t know for sure whether Norway is a mostly white place:

(She imagines correctly; Norway’s population is 83 percent ethnic Norwegian.)

Then Nielsen suggested that Trump only contrasted Africa with Norway—a notoriously socialism-friendly nation in which 20 percent of the population is on welfare!—because Norwegians have such a dogged, self-reliant work ethic:

Sen. Durbin: What did the president say specifically about immigrants from Norway?

Sec. Nielsen: I heard him repeating what he had heard in a meeting before—that they are industrious, that they are a hardworking country, they don’t have much crime there, they don’t have much debt.

As Twitter user @hilzoy pointed out, Norwegians actually average about 28 hours of work per week, which makes the country one of the least industrious in the available data. Step it up, Norway!