Westporters From Haiti, Norway React To Trump

Westport is filled with all kinds of people.

We are citizens, and we are on various types of visas. A few of us are undocumented.

We are 1st-, 2nd-, 3rd- and 4th-generation Americans, and more. At least one of us — hey, Jacques Voris! – has had family in Westport for at least 10 generations.

We may be descendants of the Pequot tribe here — I’m not sure. If not, every one of us came from somewhere else.

We came from England, Germany and — hey, Saugatuck! — Italy. We came from Canada, Russia, Japan, India, Brazil, Mexico, Israel, Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria.

We came from Norway. And from Haiti.

In the wake of President Trump’s comments yesterday — do I have to remind you he called Haiti and African nations “shithole” countries, and wondered aloud why we don’t have more immigrants from Norway — I reached out to Westporters from those specific places.

Stephanie Mastocciolo is a 1st-generation American. Her parents moved to the US to continue her grandfather’s work in the Caribbean music industry.

Her mother was adamant that Stephanie and her 2 younger sisters take advantage of the limitless opportunities in the US — in education, and for their careers. Her mother wanted her girls to become well-rounded, open-minded individuals here too.

Stephanie was born and raised in Larchmont, New York. She moved first to Greenwich, then to Westport. She has lived here for 6 years, and has enjoyed raising her 2 children in this community. 

She calls Trump’s comments “offensive, hurtful and very un-American.”

She acknowledges, “Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Yes, it has a lot of political, social and economic problems. But many — if not all — nations do.”

Trump’s comments sadden her, “because America has come a long way to break down stereotypes and barriers that divide people. America was built on the hard work and ideas of people looking for a better way of life.

She adds, “All nations should be referred to with respect and facts, not ignorant opinions. His comments speak for themselves. They show the true colors of the President of the United States.”

Camilla Moe Røisland moved to Westport in September, with her husband (whose company is building windmills off Long Island) and 2 of her children (a 3rd — and their dog — arrived recently). She worked as a news presenter, reporter and producer for Norway’s biggest radio/TV company.

Camilla does not know if she should take Trump’s words as a compliment or not. She is proud of her country — but does not like it being singled out as a “good one” in comparison to others.

“That’s not worthy of a president. Doesn’t he know, or understand, that the US is built up by immigrants throughout history?” she asks. “America’s strength comes from diversity.”

Trump is right, Camilla says, that Norwegians are highly educated in general, and hard-working. But, she adds, “that doesn’t mean that we are better or smarter than others. We are lucky because we live in a country that gives people both opportunities and security.

“We have a good health system. We take care of everyone. And we believe that all are equal — you are worth a lot even if you are not a male, white, heterosexual and rich.”

So why did she and her family move here?

Her husband had a great work opportunity. They looked forward to a new experience.

It was challenging, sure. But Westport is beautiful, Camilla says. They’ve met “so many nice, warm and welcoming people. We love living close to New York, which is a very exciting and fun city.”

It’s also a city filled with people from all over the world. Including Norway and Haiti.

Westport is too.

And I believe that many — if not all — of my fellow Westporters are glad and proud to count Camilla and Stephanie as our neighbors.

43 responses to “Westporters From Haiti, Norway React To Trump

  1. I feel ashamed of our President, who we elected through the democratic process, and today I feel ashamed of belonging to a nation that allows a President to be a racist.

  2. I’ve given the President’s repulsive statement a lot of thought. It absolutely disgusts me especially given my family’s work in Africa to improve lives, and being the son of two immigrants. Having said that, I would like to share this controversial thinking with you.

    What the President did, using vile words we would never use, is a giant NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) reaction for the nation. In Westport, we have seen NIMBY used without the President’s foul language. We don’t want “outsiders” at our beach. We don’t want “affordable housing” in our neighborhoods. We don’t want to “integrate” our schools with poorer neighbors. We justify our NIMBY with more genteel words like “our quality of life, traffic congestion, New England small town feel” etc.

    Call a spade a spade.

    • An excellent perspective.

    • There may be plenty of NIMBY’s here and throughout the US. The difference is, they are not the POTUS.

      • Yes, but who voted for this POTUS, well aware of his “views”?

      • To clarify, not every person who voted for him is a racist but, be certain, every racist in America did indeed vote for him.

    • Let’s see how Westporters respond to that . What you said is all true. I lived it for 45 years. Waiting for some excuses.

    • Avi- you should have stopped at “being the son of immigrants “ and been a champion. A Republican who rejected his president’s bigotry without reservation.

      Instead you chose to dilute the effect of Donald Trump’s prejudice by saying – common everybody aren’t we are all a little prejudice. What does that have to do with the President of the United States of America calling black nations- shit holes.

      As far as I am concerned there were no good people on the neonazis / white nationalist side which I know you agree with totally. I hope you also agree totally tha we are unreservedly ashamed and embarrassed that our prejudiced white president has brought disgrace to our nation.

      • I do reject the bigotry without reservation. But it’s inportant to look in the mirror also. What he said Is disguised by others as “we need a merit based immigration policy.” When the Jews, Irish, and others came here they had limited skills, no money, and came from countries that were falling apart. Our country offered them the opportunity to dream and achieve success.

        • Thank you for agreeing with my point- our country admitted our parents and grandparents from countries that were shit holes!!

    • If you’ve ever looked at immigration applications/sat in on those interviews for asylum in USA from Haiti AND esp from many Continental Africa countries, you’ll see that within their claims for asylum they describe their experiences and QOL in those countries as Trump did, no matter what word he used to describe ‘hell’- hole they have the same opinion of those countries that he does. So by discrediting Trump’s opinion of those countries because it’s, while sadly very true, too blunt and hurts the ears, you’re also then discrediting the asylum seekers claims.

      I doubt anyone wants to do that.

      Also, if you’re college age or older, google: Sagal Salad Osman, Bahati Remmy and General Kaweesi, & of course the Chibok School Girls. Their experience in those countries is not uncommon but they happened to be captured on camera so we get a view into what happens there.

    • Werner Liepolt

      Part of the reason we would never use the words he uses is because we are not trying to send a dog whistle to the white-supremacists whom he energizes.

  3. Great blog Dan. I am a loyal Republican but could not vote for Mr. Trump in the last election. We stand to welcome all. That is what has made our country great.

  4. Trump is not only a rectal aperture, he’s a coward . Now he’s denying that he made the statement. From the Washington Post :
    “President Trump acknowledged Friday that he used “tough” language during a meeting on efforts toward a bipartisan immigration deal but appeared to deny using the term “shithole” to refer to some countries.”
    ADW Staples 1956

  5. Our president is a classless, and very dumb man. His family had to have bought his education. He’d never in a million years get into or be able to read the books and materials required to study at Wharton!. He’s angry, mean, and very mentally sick. I pray that there is something in place where if he decides to push the button, he can be stopped.
    What went on with our president yesterday is despicable and has nothing to do with Westport. He’s a horrible person, everything I taught my sons not to be. He won by his team colluding with Russia and their massive internet bots campaign and who knows what else will come out. It was not a fair democratic process as we know it.
    The more I hear and read, the more it is all too apparent that this administration is filled with a bunch of self serving, heartless gangsters, and I am angry that we have to put up with his “s..t”. It is really scary that he has put so many judges in place to protect his personal and family interests.I hope it ends soon. Come on Meuller!!!!!

  6. Richard Fogel

    i strongly suggest you ask Westport realtors about these comments. I think you may be suprised. I have met several that will likely support the moron.

  7. At times like this it is difficult to decide whether to simply laugh out loud……or puke.

    Looks like the current topic has brought out “The Perpetually Offended and Outraged By Anything I Don’t Like” crowd in full voice (whine).

    I suppose it is beside the point that some of these Third World Sh&^holes actually ARE Third World Sh*&holes. But Heaven Forfend we tell the truth and call a spade a spade huh? What would the feel good God of Political Correctness say about that?

    Having read all this, I’ll go with Mr. Kaner’s perspective on the rampant HYPOCRISY of the self righteous for the sake of making themselves feel good. Good call and right on the money sir.

    Love your photos Dan, and the many trips back down memory lane when Westport was the Westport I knew and loved.

    • Bruce

      Let me get your points correct

      1- You are either laughing or puking!

      2- He doesn’t want immigration from the shit hole nations of Haiti and Africa because they are in fact shit holes. But doesn’t have anything against the incredible people who live in them- just too bad they live their

      3- if those people lived in Norway he would encourage their immigration to the US.

      4-not sure why you brought up whining- are you accusing Avi of whining?

      5-Does the rampant HYPOCRISY include making excuses for the President when he calls other countries shit holes whether they are or not?

      6- you haven’t given your opinion on whether there were fine people on BOTH sides- including the neo nazis and white supremicists/ nationalists.

      I await your response- please make it easy for me and go point by your points

    • Peter Gambaccini

      Snide comments about outrage and political correctness. Zzzz, and I mean that sincerely. Take a look around. The objections to what Trump said reach far beyond those who could be branded politically correct, whatever that’s even supposed to mean. You’re actually going to pretend that a guy who’s objecting to immigration from countries he defames is NOT talking about the actual humans who are immigrants from such places? Surely not even you can believe such balderdash.

  8. Bobbie Herman

    Frankly, I can’t imagine why any Norwegian would want to come to the US, when they have it so good over there.

  9. Sallie Bridgwater

    There is only “one side” that reports what he allegedly said…he states as do several others, that he did NOT say those words. Report both sides if you are going to politically report, please. Coupled with the fact that it was supposedly a private meeting…whose the big fabricator/tattle-tale?????

    In His name

    Sent from my IPad

    • Peter Gambaccini

      You’re kidding yourself and you’re wrong. Republicans sources have verified what he said. By the why it’s “who’s,” not “whose.”

      • Richard Fogel

        lindsay Graham told the president off during the meeting. If Trump told you anything you would accept it. Your love of hatred and bigotry allows you to endorse Trumps behavior and words. Stop playing footsie with Trump suipporters. They are bigots

    • Tom Feeley Sr

      First you leak it. Then they use you as confirmation so you look innocent 😜

  10. Richard Fogel

    the realtors are prominent realtors in the community with multiple signs outside home as I write. Westport is an international community. Homes are build by many immigrants with excellent talent . Do you think that the builders and realtors are aware that painters,masons,roofers,framers,carpenters,and landscapers may be illegal? It angers me that many local realtors are strong Trump supporters. If the illegal immigrants from Fairfield County were removed and deported the local economy would be in peril? People can have different ideas but Trump ideas are more Putinesque then American. Learn about who is building homes in Westport Ct. Go down to the building sites and observe , Its not hard to find the trruth if you can handle it.

  11. Richard Fogel

    we have 9000 USA troops in Africa fighting terror. We need cooperation and intelligence. There are Hatians in USA military. In fact there is a recent Hatian West Point Academy graduate. I wonder if anyone from Westport or our realtors graduated from the famous high quality academic college of Trump University????????.

  12. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    Shit hole? As in Mar-A-Lago?

  13. Just read a great bit of advice for DJT: adopt a rescue dog, preferably a mutt.

  14. I had thought that if he stood on a table and pooped we would be able to get him out of office…but apparently there is no act on his part that would outrage enough people in power to get us out of this nightmare.

  15. Since I was called out directly, and as a scion of one of the ancient clans of Old Fairfield, I will share my thoughts:

    I welcome immigrants from all places to come here and live, work, and contribute to our community. It is the fusion of all these different threads that have made the tapestry of the United States what it is today. We have taken from the world food, language, customs, and culture to create our nation, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is the constant influx of “those people” that had the drive and ambition to leave the cold comfort of their homelands and come to a new place that has made us a great nation.

    I will also share with you a story. As many of you know I descend from the first settlers of Old Fairfield, but that is my mother’s side. My father’s side were Dutch, early settlers of the New Netherlands, having come in 1660 and settled in Gravesend in Brooklyn. They came from the province of Drenthe, to the north and east in the Netherlands. I am told it was then, and still is today, a highly rural, rather backward part of the Netherlands. In short, a shithole. And yet, members of the extended clan have been Governors, Congressmen, generals, and even a Medal of Honer recipient. Also, there is something I read, and believe to be true. It was that the Dutch settles of the New Netherlands continued to speak Dutch as their primary langauge even after the English took over the colony. They continued until after the Revolutionary War. I believe this to be true based on what I have seen in researching into my family. Diaries still written in Dutch, children still given Dutch names, and things like that. An abject refusal to “integrate” into English speaking society for over a century.

    So yes my friends, the place people come from aren’t perfect, and they do not step onto our shore speaking and acting just like us, but who cares. They will become us, and we will become them, just like was always have.

  16. Trump apologists have to stop apologizing and just embrace what he has said with his own mouth!

    1- on women- it is okay to grab them by the… or just kiss them. They let you when your famous!

    2- there are fine people on both sides- that included the side with neo nazis chanting blood and soul and Jews will not replace us and white supremicists/nationalists chanting their bile.

    3- I could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and my voters would still vote for me

    4- I am a very stable genius- on what?

    5- I know more than the generals- then say I am waiting for the generals to come up with a plan.

    6- I am a great businessman- 4 bankruptcies and probably bailed out by Russian gangsters and oligarchs?

    7- I will show my taxes- then saying I don’t have to show my taxes

    8- there was no collusion- famous last words!

    9- I will pay more taxes under this plan- oooops NOT!

    Time for lunch!!!

  17. Stephen Colbert’s new show, “Our Cartoon President “, airs next month…

  18. Hanne Jeppesen

    Lots of interesting comment here. For those of you who read Dan on a daily basis, can perhaps remember a blog he wrote about me in Sept, 2015. I arrived in Westport Jan. 67 as an au pair from Denmark. Why did I come here, and why did I stay. I came to the US because I was young and wanted to see the world. I had travelled in Europe and the Middle East, during those trips with friends, it became apparent my English was not very good, as opposed to some of my friends, so I wanted to perfect my English and since I had already been to England and always been fascinated with the US, it was a logical choice. I had planned to stay 1 year, I left family, (parents, lots of aunt, uncles and cousins) and numerous good friends in Denmark. After a year and half, I went back to Denmark for 3 months, reconnected with friends and families, but truth was I now had friends and a boyfriend back in the States, so I went back and ended up staying. I’m not regretting that decision, but part of me will always be Danish and miss my country of birth, for many reasons. After living on the East Coast (Westport and NYC) for 6 years I moved to California with my husband, love California, especially the weather and diversity in nature, but part of me still miss the East Coast. My point if you come from a country, that has a decent standard of living and is fairly peaceful, as is Scandinavia and most of Europe, people are usually not eager to pull up roots and leave behind family, friends and everything they have known since birth. So although many Europeans live here and still come here, they don’t stand in line to escape a horrible situation, as immigrants from other nations, something that seem totally lost on Trump, can’t say I’m surprised by his ignorance. Most people I believe love the country they were born and grew up in, it does not mean they can’t love the US. I compare it to having more than one child, you certainly don’t love one more than the other, perhaps in a different way. Many Americans get insulted if you don’t think the US is the greatest country in world, failing to understand you can love the country you live in and also the country you were born in.

    • Have colonizers done more harm than good?

      • Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

        There’s an unsubstantiated rumor that concurrent to your move from USA to Canada the median IQ’s in both places went up.

        • I was hoping you’d ask “who saves more lives, doctors or nurses?”

        • On second thought, you seem confused and need an explanation (yawn). Eric, so yeah, I made a mistake and pushed the wrong button. It was an idle question to do with the difference between class/wealth and racism, not a reply to Hanna. A stupid question that so many people enjoy fighting about these days, like the one I asked you in jest.
          Enjoy your week, and ignore the news (unless there is a decision on NAFTA).