U.S. President Donald Trump implied on Friday the language he used during the meeting on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was “tough” but he didn’t use the infamous “shithole countries” term.
On Thursday, U.S. media reported that Trump behind closed doors expressed displeasure over people migrating to the United States from “shithole countries.”
“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used,” Trump tweeted.
Earlier in the day, the Office of UN Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said the US president’s reported remarks that immigrants were coming from “shithole countries” were racist.
The African Union also blasted Trump for his profane comments about African countries and other nations, and recalled in a statement the U.S.’ history of bringing in slaves from the continent.
Trump used the words “shithole countries” to describe Haiti, El Salvador and African countries in response to suggestions by lawmakers that they restore protections for immigrants from there, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
The White House has not disputed the report.
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 broadcaster, wrote on Twitter.