US President Donald Trump has sparked outrage after he was reported to have used crude language to describe foreign countries in an Oval Office meeting.
Mr.Trump said that he did not say “anything derogatory” about Haitians and appeared to deny calling any countries “shitholes”, as was reported, generating a worldwide backlash.
However, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said Mr. Trump used “racist” language.The president did call some African nations “shitholes”, he said.
Amid Widespread coverage of his reported remarks at a private meeting with lawmakers to discuss immigration on Thursday, Mr. Trump on Friday tweeted his language at the meeting “was tough, but this was not the language used”.Many US media outlets reported the comments that were made by Mr. Trump and also quoted witnesses or people who were briefed on the meeting. The White House didn’t deny them.
“I cannot believe that in the history of the White House, in that Oval Office, any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday,” Mr. Durbin told reporters on Friday.
Mr. Trump ignored press questions about the issue as he signed a proclamation declaring a holiday in honor of Civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr. – as presidents do every year.
Mr. Trump’s reported remarks came as both Republican and Democratic lawmakers visited him on Thursday to propose a deal on immigration.Mr. Trump was said to have told them that instead of granting temporary residency to citizens of countries hit by natural disasters, war or epidemics, US should be taking in migrants from countries like Norway.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” the Washington Post quoted him as saying, in remarks first reported to be about Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations.
Mr. Durbin said that when Mr. Trump was told that the largest groups of immigrants with Temporary protected status were from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti, the president responded: “Haitians? Do we need more Haitians?”
But in another tweet on Friday the president denied that he insulted Haitians.
Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said “take them out.” Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
To these comments by Donald Trump, the UN human rights spokesman, Rupert Colville, told a Geneva news briefing:
There is no other word one can use but racist. You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’, whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome.
Salvador Sánchez, the president of El Salvador, said Trump’s words had “struck at the dignity of Salvadorans”. “El Salvador formally protests and energetically rejects this kind of comment,” Sánchez wrote on Twitter.
Robin Diallo, the US chargé d’affaires to Haiti, was summoned to meet the Haitian president, Jovenel Moïse, to discuss the remarks. The former Haitian president Laurent Lamothe expressed his dismay, saying Trump had shown “a lack of respect and ignorance”.
Mexico’s former president, Vicente Fox, who has been an outspoken critic of Trump, said in a colorful tweet that “America’s greatness was built on diversity”. He added Trump’s mouth was “the foulest shithole in the world. With what authority do you announce who is welcome in America and who is not? America’s greatness is based on diversity, or have you forgotten your migration background, Donald?”
Boniface Mwangi, a well-known social activist in Kenya tweeted:
Africa isn’t a shithole. It’s the most beautiful continent in the world. Beautiful,hardworking people. We have diamonds, gold, iron, cobalt, uranium, copper, bauxite, silver, petroleum, cocoa, coffee, tea etc. Sadly we have #shithole leaders like Trump shitting on us everyday. pic.twitter.com/Vv4Wgtq4Pk
— Boniface Mwangi (@bonifacemwangi) January 12, 2018