Trump denies using vulgar remark to describe African countries

Trump denies using vulgar remark to describe African countries

Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power addresses media in December 2016.

In bluntly vulgar language, President Donald Trump questioned Thursday why the US would accept more immigrants from Haiti and "shithole countries" in Africa rather than places like Norway, as he rejected a bipartisan immigration deal, according to people briefed on the extraordinary Oval Office conversation.

Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as "shithole countries".

"Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" the US President is reported to have asked legislators on Thursday while discussing protecting immigrants from these countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal at the White House.

His remarks have quickly spread around the world, provoking strong reactions, including those from the United Nations.

Senegal's President Macky Sall said he was shocked and that "Africa and the black race merit the respect and consideration of all". "I'm sorry, but there's no other word one can use but racist".

In a tweet Friday morning, Trump said he used "tough" language at the meeting.

"This is even more hurtful given the historical reality of just how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, and also terribly surprising as the United States remains a massively positive example as just how migration can give birth to a nation", Kalondo said. "The conversation about who we are as Americans has shifted and given in to a kind of xenophobia that makes it hard to discuss issues that affect all Americans".

"Unless it was specifically said about South Sudan, we have nothing to say", South Sudan government spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told the AP.

Trump's political allies have been through this dance before, grappling with how to position themselves after a president whose supporters they covet stakes out controversial positions.

Ethiopia to release all political prisoners, close notorious camp
Ethiopia's government has always been accused of arresting critical journalists and opposition leaders. Elias Meseret is an Associated Press writer.

When it came to talk of extending protections for Haitians, Mr Durbin said the president replied: "We don't need more Haitians".

Thursday's immigration meeting had been created to cut a bipartisan deal to limit immigrants from bringing family members into the United States, restrict the green card visa lottery and boost border security.

A significant number of African immigrants are Christians who joined US evangelical congregations, and many have become advocates for more generous immigration policies and critics of Trump's views on the issue. One said lawmakers in the room were taken aback by Trump's remarks.

The New York Times and the New Yorker magazine both directly called Trump a racist, setting out comments and behaviour that they said showed the billionaire property developer-turned-politician had an openly "bigoted worldview".

Trump on Friday also denied demanding that Haitians be removed from negotiations about protected status for people from certain countries.

"The president's physical exam today at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center went exceptionally well", the doctor, Ronny Jackson, was quoted as saying in a statement released by the White House on Friday.

But the government of Haiti - which Friday was marking eight years since a devastating natural disaster killed at least 200,000 people in the country - declared itself "outraged and shocked".

Durbin, speaking to reporters on Friday, contradicted Trump's claim.

US Democratic congressman Luis Gutierrez called Trump "a racist who does not share the values enshrined in our Constitution".

"If they are to be true, we hope there will possibly be an apology for what was said here because we thought they were misplaced, they were misguided", Altidor said.

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