On one hand, there’s heartbreaking destruction in Haiti after a colossal earthquake, the tragedy its wrought outweighing global showings of solidarity and support. On the other hand, there’s the heartbreaking stupidity of Reverend Pat Robertson’s hateful and inflammatory suggestion that the quake was a response to the country’s “pact with the devil” for independence in 1804. By and large, anyone who might possibly and unfathomably agree with Robertson has kept their mouth shut, while a barrage of critics — from Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow to Don Imus and the White House — have verbally assaulted the old coot. Here’s a rundown of the outrage.
Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French . . . and they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, “We will serve you if you’ll get us free from the French.” True story. And so the devil said, “OK, it’s a deal.” . . . Ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after another, desperately poor. That island of Hispaniola is one island. It’s cut down the middle. On the one side is Haiti; on the other side is the Dominican Republic. Dominican Republic is, is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, et cetera. Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island.
To be sure, this isn’t the first time (and likely won’t be the last) that Roberston has used natural disaster as a jumping off point for twisted End of Days diarrhea of the mouth, famously warning that Gay Day at Disney World would bring hurricanes. He also claimed that feminists encourage women to “leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” About.com has 10 of Robertson’s stupidest quotes.
In Robertson’s corner, the ever-befuddled Kathie Lee Gifford called him “a good-hearted man,” but she’s far from a reliable fighter and represents what appears to be a largely silent minority. Plus, she’s wrong.
Olbermann, meanwhile, charged Robertson with “tone-deafness, delight in human misery, dripping self-satisfied, houlier-than-thou, senile crap,” and suggested that maybe Robertson is actually the devil:
On The Rachel Maddow show, the Haitian ambassador to the U.S., Raymond Joseph, responded to Robertson’s idiocy by reminding all of America that the Haitian revolution made the Louisiana Purchase possible, affording us thirteen of our states. History lessons probably aren’t of the utmost importance to the Reverend, but thinking people might enjoy his point:
From the White House, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said on Good Morning America that she was “speechless” and called the comment “stunning,” while press secretary Robert Gibbs hit a bit harder, dubbing Robertson’s words “utterly stupid.”