'Africa is a beautiful place full of nice people': North Iowans upset by Trump's 's—hole countries' comment

MASON CITY | Disparaging remarks attributed to President Trump on limiting immigration from some countries have hit close to home to two North Iowa families who are upset by his comments.

Scott Bell, longtime musician from Mason City, has close family ties to Africa.

“My beautiful family comes from several parts of the world and many have ties to Africa and African countries,” he said. “We have two daughter-in-laws that come from “s—hole countries.”

He said one of his granddaughters was born and raised for a few years in Africa. “She knows her birth country as a place where she finds love, family, a grandma whom she loves and many happy memories. Yesterday, she heard her president vilely refer to her home as a “s—hole country,” Bell said, “and it is upsetting to her.”

“How do you explain the use of such language by the president?” he asked.

Bell has another son and daughter-in-law living in another part of Africa. “They are incensed. They don’t understand. I don’t understand. We have also two young grandsons growing up in an environment of these vile, ignorant comments. I just don’t know what to say to them,” he said.

“In our family, we know Africa as a beautiful place full of nice people; just like people here. Trump’s comments aren’t just rude. They aren’t just ‘Oh, there goes Trump again.’ We literally have some of my family in tears over his comments. They don’t understand. They are hurt.”

Another frustration for Bell: “Through it all, there are still people of influence who could do something or at the very least, say something about it, but they will not. Enough is enough.”


Mark Young, student support advocate at Roosevelt Elementary, reflects on his time in the Mason City School District as he prepares to begin his tenure as principal at Belmond-Klemme Elementary next month.

Mark Young of Mason City, a former attorney who is now a school principal in Belmond, assisted families with adopting children from Africa and Haiti in his law practice.

He said those children are probably of high school age by now. Explaining President Trump’s remarks “would be a tough conversation to have with them,” he said.

In his own family, his daughter and son-in-law are in the process of adopting a child from East Africa. Referring to Trump’s comments, Young said, “If we’re going to be a welcoming nation, I don’t know how this helps.”

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