While appearing on CNN's “OutFront” on Thursday, Gen. Michael Hayden suggested President Donald Trump's “s**thole” comment was embarrassing for the United States.
“We all collectively should be a bit embarrassed. I think we all collectively should be a bit ashamed. And frankly, Erin, I think we all collectively should be a little bit frightened,” Hayden, a former CIA and NSA director, said.
CNN host Erin Burnett asked Hayden about President Donald Trump reportedly describing African nations, as well as Haiti, as “s**thole countries.”
“Why are we having all these people from s**thole countries come here?” Trump allegedly asked during a Thursday meeting in which he discussed immigration policy with lawmakers.
He suggested the United States should instead take more immigrants from countries like Norway.
That question, Hayden suggested, didn't appeal “to the better angels of our nature or our nation's values.”
Hayden, however, didn't go as far as Burnett did when she said, later in the broadcast, that Trump's comment was “racist”:
CNN anchor describes Trump's “shithole” comment as “racist” pic.twitter.com/PBtQVgkLR5
— IJR (@TheIJR) January 12, 2018
Instead, Hayden called that characterization a “personal judgment” he didn't want to make.
But Hayden continued condemning the comment, calling it “totally inappropriate” and adding that he couldn't think of another president in recent history who did what Trump did.
“I don't know of any other example in recent American history,” Hayden said, “where a president would say such a thing and do it in an environment, as you've already suggested, that he knew it would become public.”
Thursday's comments came after Trump's repeated calls for a merit-based immigration system.
In response to The Washington Post's story about Trump's comment, the White House did not deny what he said, but it reiterated the president's concern with the nation's immigration system.
“Like other nations that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation,” the statement read.
Watch Hayden's interview below, via CNN.