Hours after it was reported that President Donald Trump described certain nations as “shithole countries,” the president denied that he said those words during a meeting about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
“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!” Trump tweeted on Friday. He did not specifically deny using the word “shithole.”
In the Oval Office meeting at the White House Thursday, President Trump asked those in the room why they would want people from Haiti, Africa and other “s—-hole countries” coming into the United States, according to the Washington Post.
The president also allegedly suggested that instead, the U.S. should allow more people from countries like Norway. Trump met this week with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
The White House did not deny the comments, saying Trump “is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation,” according to White House spokesperson Raj Shah.
Trump also denied making any derogatory comments about Haitians: “Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country," he tweeted. "Never said 'take them out.' Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings - unfortunately, no trust!“
Reactions to Trump’s comments came swiftly. The United Nations, for example, branded his comments as racist, according to the Washington Post.
"If confirmed these are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States," spokesperson Rupert Coleville said. "There is no other word you can use but 'racist'."
Haiti’s ambassador to the United States condemned the statement and said his country has asked for an explanation of Trump’s comments from American officials.
“In the spirit of the people of Haiti we feel in the statements if they were made, the president was either misinformed or miseducated about Haiti and its people, ” the ambassador, Paul G. Altidor, said in a statement.