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Donald Trump 's***hole countries' comment slammed as 'racist' by UN

Donald Trump said that reports of the language he used wasn’t quite accurate – but that his language had been “tough”.

People in the room were reportedly taken aback by the president's comments.
People in the room were reportedly taken aback by the president's comments.
Image: Sachs Ron/PA Images

Updated at 1.57pm

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump’s dismissal of Haiti and certain African countries as “shithole” countries has been criticised as ”racist”, “shocking and shameful” by a United Nations spokesperson.

Trump made the remarks yesterday during a White House meeting after senators discussed revamping immigration rules. That’s according to three people who were briefed on the conversation but weren’t authorised to describe it publicly.

During the meeting, he questioned 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.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to the Washington Post.

Although Trump has tweeted out that he “never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country”, he did admit that the language he used was “tough”.

Tweet by @Donald J. Trump Source: Donald J. Trump/Twitter

 

Trump’s contemptuous description of an entire continent startled lawmakers in the meeting and immediately revived charges that the president is racist.

The White House did not deny his remark but issued a statement saying Trump supports immigration policies that welcome “those who can contribute to our society.”

This afternoon, Trump said that his language had been “tough” but what he had been quoted as saying “was not the language used”.

Tweet by @Donald J. Trump Source: Donald J. Trump/Twitter

He said what was “really tough” was the “outlandish” immigration proposal put before him and other Republican senators.

He tweeted:

“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,” he said.

Criticism

A number of commentators and organisations have criticised what Trump is reported to have said.

“If confirmed, these are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States,” Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN human rights office, told reporters in Geneva.

“Sorry, but there is no other word one can use but ‘racist’,” he added.

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

He said that Trump’s reported suggestion that America should welcome immigrants from places like Norway, whose population is overwhelmingly made “the underlying sentiment very clear”.

“Like the earlier comments made vilifying Mexicans and Muslims, the policy proposals targeting entire groups on grounds of nationality or religion, and the reluctance to clearly condemn the anti-Semitic and racist actions of the white supremacists in Charlottesville – all of these go against the universal values the world has been striving so hard to establish since World War II and the Holocaust,” he said.

“This is not just a story about vulgar language. It’s about opening the door wider to humanity’s worst side, about validating and encouraging racism and xenophobia that will potentially disrupt and destroy the lives of many people.

“This is perhaps the single most damaging and dangerous consequence of this type of comment by a major political figure,” he added.

- With reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha and © AFP, 2018. First posted at 7.30am.

Read: Donald Trump has cancelled his planned visit to the UK >

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