The African Union on Friday blasted President Donald Trump for his profane comments about African countries and other nations, and recalled America’s history of importing slaves from the continent.
Trump used the words “shithole countries” to describe Haiti, El Salvador and African countries in response to lawmakers’ suggestion that America restores protection for immigrants from there, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
The White House has not disputed the report.
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Responding to the remarks, AU spokeswoman, Ebba Kalondo, reminded Trump that many Africans “arrived in the U.S. as slaves,” adding that Trump’s “profane statement flies in the face of all accepted behaviour and practice.”
She described the U.S. as “a global example of how migration gave birth to a nation built on strong values of diversity and opportunity.”
In her statement, Kalonda said the African Union and its partners would continue to address the causes of migration, while also fighting against racism and xenophobia.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s governing African National Congress party took to Twitter to chide Trump over his “offensive” choice of words.
Others responded to the derogatory slur with humour: “Good morning from the greatest, most beautiful ‘shithole country’ in the world!!!” Leanne Manas, a news anchor for South Africa’s SABC, wrote on Twitter.
President Donald Trump referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” during a meeting with a bipartisan group of senators at the White House, a Democratic aide briefed on Thursday’s meeting told NBC News.
Trump’s comments were first reported by The Washington Post, which said the nations referred to by Trump also included El Salvador.
Two sources briefed on the conversation say that during the portion of the conversation about Haiti — which came at the top of the exchange that led to the “shithole” comment — the president questioned why Haitians should be given specific consideration.
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“Why do we need more Haitians, take them out,” he said, according to sources. Someone else in the room responded: “Because if you do, it will be obvious why.”
The U.N. human rights office said the comments, if confirmed, were “shocking and shameful” and “racist,” while Haiti’s foreign minister summoned the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Robin Diallo for clarification.
The comments came as senators huddled in the Oval Office with the president to discuss a path forward on an immigration deal. Trump questioned why the United States would want people from nations such as Haiti while he was being briefed on changes to the visa lottery system.
According to the aide, when the group came to discussing immigration from Africa, Trump asked why America would want immigrants from “all these shithole countries” and that the U.S. should have more people coming in from places like Norway.