As 'shithole' remark snowballs, Trump's says 'I'm not racist'

U.S. President Donald Trump

Africans in the diaspora would join Haitians, and El-Salvadorians in rallies to protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's alleged racist remarks.

In remarks to reporters at a dinner photo opportunity with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in West Palm Beach, Florida, Trump said when asked if he is a racist, "No, I'm not a racist". "I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you", a somewhat combative Trump retorted as he pointed his finger at reporters.

The President has drawn sharp criticism since he was reported to have called African countries "shitholes" while discussing immigration with lawmakers Thursday.

When the comments initially came to light, the African group of ambassadors to the United Nations issued an extraordinary statement condemning the "outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks" by Mr. Trump and demanding a retraction and apology on Friday.

Lawmakers hope to reach an immigration deal before January 19, when Congress must pass a funding bill or the government will shut down.

Despite news reports and accounts from elected officials inside the room, the president pointed to two senators - Tom Cotton and David Perdue, both Republicans, who were also present - who maintained he hadn't slurred Haiti and Africa.

The White House has not confirmed or denied the president's words.

The government of Botswana said it had summoned the USA ambassador to the southern African nation to "express its displeasure" over Trump's reported comments, which it views as "highly irresponsible, reprehensible and racist". Perdue says Durbin and Republican Sen. "That, I can tell you", he said.

Mr Trump was not apologetic and denied he was racist, instead blaming the media for distorting his meaning, said the confidant.

"I don't think the Democrats want to make a deal", he said.

The organisers of the event urged all people of African descent and others to attend the rally to "reject the denigration President Trump uttered against us".

The group "is concerned at the continuing and growing trend from the U.S. administration towards Africa and people of African descent to denigrate the continent and people of color", it said.

"And they want to take money away from our military, which we will not do". "What do we want Haitians here for?" the president reportedly asked. The meeting took place prior to Trump's controversial comments from the Oval Office on Thursday.

So Trump's dismissal of a large portion of the world is framed now as an argument for merit-based immigration?

"We have a lot of sticking points but they're all Democrat sticking points", he said.



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