Donald Trump denies using the term ‘s**thole countries’ when referring to immigrants from Haiti and African nations

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US PRESIDENT Donald Trump says while he used “tough language” in an immigration meeting he has denied using the term “s**thole countries”.

In an early morning tweet, Mr Trump said what was really “tough” was the “outlandish proposal” put forward at that meeting with regards to 800,000 undocumented youth under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.

“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made — a big setback for DACA!” he tweeted.

US President Donald Trump has dnied using the phrase ‘s**thole countries’. Picture: AFP

US President Donald Trump has dnied using the phrase ‘s**thole countries’. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

“The so-called bipartisan DACA deal presented yesterday to myself and a group of Republican Senators and Congressmen was a big step backwards. Wall was not properly funded, Chain & Lottery were made worse and USA would be forced to take large numbers of people from high crime countries which are doing badly. I want a merit based system of immigration and people who will help take our country to the next level. I want safety and security for our people. I want to stop the massive inflow of drugs. I want to fund our military, not do a Dem defund because of the Democrats not being interested in life and safety, DACA has now taken a big step backwards. The Dems will threaten “shutdown,” but what they are really doing is shutting down our military, at a time we need it most. Get smart, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

However, Democrat Senator Dick Durbin, who was at the meeting, said Mr Trump “said these hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly.”

“You’ve seen the comments in the press,” Sen. Durbin said. “I’ve not seen one of them that’s inaccurate. To no surprise, the president started tweeting this morning, denying that he used those words. It is not true. He said these hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly.”

“I cannot believe in this history of the White House, in that Oval Office, any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday,” he said.

Two Republicans in attendance, Senator Tom Cotton and David Perdue, said they did not “recall” Mr Trump making the remark but Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is believed to have told people privately that the president did use the phrase “s**thole countries”.

Republican Senator Tom Cotton can’t recall Donald Trump’s remarks. Picture: ABC News

Republican Senator Tom Cotton can’t recall Donald Trump’s remarks. Picture: ABC NewsSource:Supplied

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan says Donald Trump’s comments are “unfortunate”. Picture: AP

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan says Donald Trump’s comments are “unfortunate”. Picture: APSource:AP

Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, called Mr Trump’s comments “very unfortunate” and “unhelpful”, saying his ancestors who immigrated from Ireland also faced hostilities when they arrived in America.

Former Vice President Joe Biden condemned Mr Trump’s remarks.

US President Donald Trump listens as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson speaks during an event to honour Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Picture: AP

US President Donald Trump listens as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson speaks during an event to honour Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Picture: APSource:AP

Mr Trump was asked whether he was a racist as he signed a proclamation honouring Martin Luther King Jr. Day, noting the contributions of a “great American hero.”

Mr Trump did not respond to several questions about the incident, including whether he actually used vulgar language to describe African nations.

The president said at the White House that “love was central” to the slain civil rights leader. Mr Trump said the nation celebrates King for “standing up for the self-evident truth Americans hold so dear, that no matter what the colour of our skin or place of our birth, we are all created equal by God.”

UN CALLS TRUMP’S COMMENTS ‘RACIST’

His comments came as the United Nations labelled the comments “racist” and xenophobic.

Mr Trump on Thursday reportedly questioned why the United States would want to have immigrants from Haiti and African nations, referring to some as “shithole countries,” according to two sources familiar with the comments made in the White House.

“These are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States. There is no other word one can use but ‘racist’,” UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a Geneva news briefing when asked about the comments.

“You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’, whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome,” he added.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesman Rupert Colville. Picture: UN

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesman Rupert Colville. Picture: UNSource:Supplied

The issue was more than “vulgar language”, Mr Colville said.

“It’s about opening the door to humanity’s worst side, about validating and encouraging racism and xenophobia that will potentially disrupt and destroy lives of many people.”

Mr Trump had also failed to clearly condemn the “anti-Semitic and racist actions of white supremacists in Charlottesville” at a rally in Virginia last August, Mr Colville said.

The program that was being discussed at the White House is called Temporary Protected Status.

In November, the Trump administration decided to end the status for immigrants from Haiti and Nicaragua.

It gave the approximately 59,000 Haitian immigrants who had been granted the status until July 2019 to return home or legalise their presence in the United States.

Nicaraguans were given until January 2019.

“The future of the Dreamers should not be used as a bargaining chip to negotiate the most severe and restrictive immigration and security measures possible. These are human beings, not commodities,” Mr Colville said.

“Dreamers” is term used for undocumented immigrants who were brought into the United States as children.

HAITI REQUESTS MEETING

Meanwhile, Haiti’s government said it “vehemently condemns” Mr Trump’s comments referring to their country as a “s**thole” and requested to speak to a US official about the incident.

The country’s Ambassador to the United States said Trump was either “misinformed or he is miseducated” and they summoned a US representative to explain the remarks to Haitian officials.

“Haitians fought along US soldiers in the Revolutionary War and we continue to be great contributors to American society,” the ambassador, Paul Altidor, told MSNBC.

Former prime minister of Haiti, Laurent Lamothe. Picture: Twitter

Former prime minister of Haiti, Laurent Lamothe. Picture: TwitterSource:Supplied

Paul Altidor, Haiti's ambassador to the United States. Picture: Supplied

Paul Altidor, Haiti’s ambassador to the United States. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

Mr Altidor added that he believed the inflammatory comments made by Trump were “based on stereotypes.”

“Either the president has been misinformed or he is miseducated,” Altidor said.

The former prime minister of Haiti also blasted Trump’s remarks as “a new low” in a tweet Thursday night.

“SHAME ON TRUMP! The world is witnessing a new low today with this #ShitholeNations remark!” the ex-leader, Laurent Lamothe, wrote.

“Totally unacceptable! uncalled for moreover it shows a lack a respect and IGNORANCE never seen before in the recent history of the US by any President! Enough is enough!!”

EL SALVADOR FURIOUS OVER TRUMP REMARKS

El Salvador says it has sent a diplomatic protest note to the United States expressing the country’s “resounding rejection” of Mr Trump’s remarks.

The Central American nation’s Foreign Ministry says in a statement that “El Salvador demands respect for its brave and dignified people.”

Mateo Barrera, 4 originally from El Salvador, whose family members benefit from Temporary Protected Status, TPS, attends a news conference in Los Angeles. Picture: AP

Mateo Barrera, 4 originally from El Salvador, whose family members benefit from Temporary Protected Status, TPS, attends a news conference in Los Angeles. Picture: APSource:AP

Earlier this week, the US announced that it is rescinding Temporary Protected Status for around 200,000 Salvadorans in the United States that lets them live and work legally in the country.

Washington also recently rescinded TPS for Haitians and Nicaraguans.

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