Defenders of President Trump say his comment about considering immigrants from Norway, rather than from Africa or Haiti, was not racist. They claim he just prefers well-educated immigrants who would be productive citizens.

Putting aside Trump stereotypes, I wish he would espouse the policies that in a recent report ranked Norway the happiest country in the world, followed by Denmark, Iceland, and Switzerland. The main factors found to support happiness were caring about others, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income, and good governance. The U.S. ranked 19th in this survey.

Norwegians don’t mind paying higher taxes for the right to universal public health care; universal public education through university and professional schools; paid parental leave; subsidized early childhood education; care for the elderly and disabled; and many other public services that improve the quality of life for Norway’s citizens.

Not unrelated, 62 percent of Norwegians are atheists or agnostics and don’t have religious disputes about secular policy.

Not surprisingly, we don’t find many Norwegians who want to immigrate here. Were we to survey Norway and many other countries on their opinions of President Trump’s policies and behavior, I expect his unfavorable rating would be as high as in those places Trump disparaged in his comment.

Herb Silverman

George Street

Charleston