12 Jan 2018

Trump calls nations 'shithole' in White House talks - report

12:53 pm on 12 January 2018

US President Donald Trump has reportedly called Haiti and African nations "shithole countries" during a meeting in the Oval Office.

US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House.

US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House. Photo: AFP

The comment was made during a recent discussion with congressional leaders, according to a report in the Washington Post.

The Post reported that Mr Trump grew frustrated after ideas to help immigrants in Haiti, El Salvador and African countries were discussed as possible parts of a bipartisan immigration deal.

"Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Mr Trump asked, two people briefed on the meeting told the Post.

Mr Trump then suggested the US should bring in more people from countries like Norway, the report said.

In a statement, a White House spokesperson did not deny the comment, but said Mr Trump was "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".

Mr Trump's remark reportedly came as lawmakers from both parties visited him to propose a bipartisan immigration deal.

Before the alleged outburst, Democratic Senator Richard Durbin had reportedly been discussing US temporary residency permits that are granted to citizens of countries experiencing strife such as natural disasters, war or epidemics.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, was also in the meeting, but declined to comment on Mr Trump's reported slur.

The New York Times reported three weeks ago that Mr Trump had said Haitians "all have Aids" during a June meeting about immigration.

The backlash to his latest alleged remarks began quickly.

Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democratic lawmaker, tweeted: "I condemn this unforgivable statement and this demeaning of the office of the Presidency."

Earlier this week, the Trump administration decided to cancel permits that allow nearly 200,000 people from El Salvador to live and work in the US.

However a US judge has also blocked the White House's attempt to end a programme that prevents the deportation of children brought illegally to the US by parents.

Aid agencies in New Zealand, on Saturday, condemned President Trump's reported vulgar language towards Haiti, El Salvador, and countries in Africa.

Caritas New Zealand director Julianne Hickey, who is from Zimbabwe, said parts of Africa were beautiful with a lot to offer.

"Countries often have significant resources, and it's unfortuante that in some places there are situations that are challenging that cause people to want to

move and seek a better life."

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