UPDATE: The White House joined the growing chorus of condemnation surrounding televangelist Pat Robertson's comment that the earthquake in Haiti was the result of a "pact with the devil" the nation's founders made when fighting against French colonial rule in the 18th century.
"It never ceases to amaze, that in times of amazing human suffering, somebody says something that could be so utterly stupid," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said. "But it, like clockwork, happens with some regularity."
The following video was uploaded to the Web by MediaMatters, Jan, 14, 2009.
Original story follows below
Haitian ambassador shames Pat Robertson
Pat Robertson suggested Wednesday that Haiti deserved the recent devastating earthquake because they had made a "deal with the devil." Rachel Maddow covered Robertson's comments Wednesday night while lamenting his First Amendment rights. By coincidence or design, Raymond Joseph, the Haitian ambassador to the United States, joined Maddow following the Robertson segment and directly addressed the pastor's remarks.
Speaking on his Christian Broadcasting Network show, "The 700 Club," Robertson implied that the quake, and the general suffering of the Western Hemisphere's poorest country, was the result of a "pact with the devil" that Haitian rebels made in the 18th century.
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. You know, Napoleon the third, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you will get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it's a deal.
And they kicked the French out. You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other. Desperately poor. That island of Hispaniola is one island. It is cut down the middle on the one side is Haiti the other is the Dominican Republic. Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etc. Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island. They need to have and we meed to pray for them a great turning to god and out of this tragedy I'm optimistic something good may come.
As soon as the Haitian ambassador to the United States was introduced by Maddow, he volunteered a response to Robertson. "I think I would like to address one thing I heard tonight about how the pact with the devil made it possible for Haiti to suffer the way it is," said Jospeh.
"I would like the whole world to know -- America especially -- that the independence of Haiti, when the slave rose up against the French and defeated the French army -- powerful army -- the U.S. was able to gain the Louisiana territory for $15 million. That's 3 cents an acre. That's 13 states west of the Mississippi that the Haitian slave revolt in Haiti provided," explained Joseph.
"Also the revolt of the rebels in Haiti allowed Latin America to be free," Joseph continued.
"So, what pact the Haitian made with the devil has helped the United States become what it is," he said.
Maddow felt the need to defend her reporting on Robertson's comments. "Mr. Ambassador, I have about as much in common with Pat Robertson as I do anybody in the world that I have not met. I can not apologize for him but if I could I would and I hope that you did not hear that as representative of the broad wishes of the American people," said Maddow.
"The reason we are making fun of him on this show is because we find his views so odious," she concluded.
This video is from MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast Jan. 13, 2010.