HOUSTON - Kenya native Bernard Lagat is a world champion distance runner, an Olympic medalist and for more than a decade, an American citizen and proud Tucsonan.
He took offense to President Donald Trump's reported vulgar comment about immigrants in the Oval Office on Thursday. Lagat tweeted in the hours after news reports first surfaced.
"For me to feel like I'm a second-class citizen just because I come from these countries that's he looks down as the ****hole counties," Lagat said on Friday night. "And I could not believe that it came from his mouth."
News 4 Tucson spoke to Lagat via phone from Houston. He's running there this weekend. Lagat, who first raced on the world stage for the United States in 2007 has always felt welcomed in his adopted nation. He is always proud to dawn the American flag.
"When I come home people are cheering for me," the Olympian said. "They are happy for me, but then now to hear the most powerful man say Africa, a ****hole country,' uplift the country rather than pushing them down."
On the other side, James T. Harris, a conservative radio talk show host based in Phoenix defends Trump.
"Why are we cow-towing to ****hole countries who bring in ****hole problems," Harris said in a video on Facebook. "Have you ever been to Haiti? Talk to people who have been to Haiti. It's not the United States responsibility to bring all of these people in. Liberals are trying to freak it up by letting everyone in from every ****hole country and it needs to stop."