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Jay-Z slams Trump's 'shithole' comment as 'hurtful'

Hip-hop legend Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter described President Donald Trump's "shithole countries" comment as "disappointing and hurtful."

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Melissa Mahtani (CNN)
(CNN) — Hip-hop legend Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter described President Donald Trump's "shithole countries" comment as "disappointing and hurtful."

"Everyone feels anger, but after the anger it's really hurtful because he's looking down on a whole population of people and he's so misinformed because these places have beautiful people," he told Van Jones on the debut of his new CNN program, "The Van Jones Show."

Trump made those comments in an Oval Office meeting, according to some of the participants, as he rejected a bipartisan immigration deal to protect DACA participants. "Why do we want all these people from shithole countries coming here?" he reportedly told senators on January 11.

Jay-Z on racism in America

Jay-Z said Trump's comments expose a larger problem of racism in this country and the way that people still talk behind closed doors.

"There was a moment when Donald Sterling had been exposed as a racist on this private phone conversation he was having and they took the team from him," Jay-Z said, referring to remarks made in 2014 by the former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.

"OK, that is one way to do it. But another way to do it is let him have his team and then let's talk about it together. ... Maybe some penalties. Because once you do that, all the other closet racists run back in the hole. You haven't fixed anything. What you've done is spray perfume on the trash can," he said.

Continuing the analogy, he explained that more spray attracts more bugs as you're not actually dealing with the trash -- in this case, racism.

"You don't take the trash out. You keep spraying whatever over it to make it acceptable and as those things grow, you create a superbug. And now we have Donald Trump, the superbug," he said.

"Donald Trump is a human being, too. I'm being funny," he added. "Somewhere along his lineage something happened to him and he's in pain and he's expressing it in this sort of way."

Jay-Z and his problem with politics

Asked by Van Jones whether it's OK for Trump "to say terrible things but put money in our pockets" amid Trump's claims that unemployment for African-Americans has dropped, Jay-Z said no, "because it's not about money at the end of the day."

"Money doesn't equate to happiness. That's missing the whole point," he said. "Treat people like human beings. That's the main point. (If) we're going back to 'you treat me really bad but pay me well,' that's not going to lead to happiness, it's going to lead to, like, the same thing. Everyone's going to be sick."

The hip-hop star explained that many African-Americans and people in middle America have been voting Democrat for years because their families did. "It was like a reflex ... but their needs weren't addressed."

"My problem with government is they forget it's real people behind these decisions that they're making. ... We're, like, people going through real time with real pain. When you ignore that pain for so long, people act out and want to see something different and that opens the door to what we're seeing now."

He added, "Now, politics has become about votes and not about people."

Jay-Z on visiting the White House

Jay-Z was a frequent visitor at the Obama White House but told Van Jones that he doesn't think he'll get invited while Trump is in office.

Jones joked that Trump may surprise him, making a play to be the first "hip-hop president" because he "likes getting into beefs with people," likes bling and has a plane.

"But he doesn't have the struggle," Jay-Z responded.

"The Van Jones Show" premieres Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on CNN.

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