Countries that President Trump reportedly called "shitholes" are slamming his "derogatory" and "misunderstood" comments on Friday.
While discussing immigration with lawmakers in the Oval Office on Thursday, Trump asked why people from "shithole countries come here" — referring to immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations.
Although a White House spokesperson on Thursday did not deny that he used the word "shithole," Trump insisted that was "not the language used" in a confusing Twitter rant on Friday.
However, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, who was in the room with Trump when he made the remark, said that the president did use "vile, vulgar" language including the word "shithole."
The president's remarks angered several countries, prompting them to issue strongly worded statements condemning his comment.
The government of Botswana asked the US government to clarify if Botswana was regarded as a "shithole country" and called his comments "irresponsible, reprehensible and racist."
"The Government of Botswana is wondering why President Trump, must use this descriptor and derogatory word, when talking about countries with whom the US has had cordial and mutually beneficial bilateral relations for so many years," the Botswana government said in a statement condemning his remarks.
The African nation said it had accepted US citizens over the years, including senior government officials, which is "why we view the utterances by the current American President as highly irresponsible, reprehensible, and racist."
In a tweet Friday, the US Embassy in South Africa stated that the "US deeply respects the people of #Africa & values partnerships w/ them." Though the tweet did not explicitly reference Trump's reported comments, it stated that there "has been no change in our dedication to partners & friends across the Continent."
The government of Haiti said in a statement it was “deeply shocked and outraged” by Trump’s remark — and called it “racist.”
"These insulting and reprehensible statements in no way reflect the virtues of wisdom, restraint and discernment that must be cultivated by any high political authority,” the statement said, adding that Trump's remark “reflects a totally erroneous and racist view of the Haitian community and its contribution to the United States.”
Paul Altidor, Haiti's ambassador to the US, told MSNBC that his country's government "vehemently condemns" Trump's comments "based on stereotypes."
Altidor said that Trump had "been misinformed or he is miseducated." He said that he was surprised and disappointed that Trump would "actually make such comments about any group of people" and noted that Haitian-Americans had fought with US soldiers for the US's independence and that they have greatly contributed to American campuses and health services.
The African Union
The African Group of Ambassadors to the UN
The group held an emergency meeting on Friday before issuing a statement condemning the "outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks".
It demanded a retraction of the comments and an apology from Trump, and said it is "concerned at the continuing and growing trend from the US administration towards Africa and people of African descent to denigrate the continent and people of colour".
Former US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power shared the statement on Twitter.
This post will be updated as more countries express their displeasure at Trump's comments.
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at email@example.com.
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