Trump denies ‘racist slur’ that provoked outrage

January 13, 2018

NEW YORK: US President Donald Trump on Friday appeared to deny he insulted Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” but admitted in a tweet that he used “tough” language during a discussion about an immigration deal with lawmakers.

“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used,” Trump tweeted Friday. “What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made a big setback for DACA!” (DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which is a kind of administrative relief from deportation which protects eligible immigrant youth from deportation.

Trump cancelled the programme last year.) On Thursday, Trump used vulgar language during a meeting with a bipartisan group of senators at the White House, a Democratic aide briefed on the meeting said, according to reports in American media.

The Washington Post, the New York Times, Politico and the Wall Street Journal all reported the comments on Thursday, quoting witnesses or people briefed on the meeting. The White House did not deny them.

Meanwhile, Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat, who was present at the meeting and spoke to reporters Friday, confirmed the president’s remarks and said that the media reporters were accurate.

In recounting the meeting, Durbin suggested that Trump’s “shitholes” slur was aimed at African nations. Senator Durbin said that when the discussion turned to Haiti, Trump questioned why Haitians should be given specific consideration.

“Why do we need more Haitians, take them out,” he said, citing sources. Someone else in the room responded: “Because if you do, it will be obvious why.

The White House issued a statement Thursday that did not deny the remarks. But Trump tweeted Friday that he never said “anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country.” – AFP