Donald Trump has attacked Democrats and accused them of not wanting to agree a deal on immigration reform, as controversy continued to swirl over his alleged description of Haiti and African nations as “s***hole countries”.
As the African Union – representing 55 nations – and many high-profile Haitian-Americans demanded an apology, the President claimed Democrats did not want to work with him to secure a deal.
“I don’t believe the Democrats really want to see a deal on DACA,” he said on Twitter, referring to the programme established by Barack Obama to provide thousands of thousands immigrants protection from deportation.
“They are all talk and no action. This is the time but, day by day, they are blowing the one great opportunity they have. Too bad!”
Mr Trump, who also tweeted “America First” and then claimed that jobs were “coming back to America”, has found himself at the centre of a storm of outcry after allegedly using the vulgar and offensive phrase while meeting with Democratic and Republican politicians to discuss immigration reform.
While the President initially sought to claim that while he had used “tough language”, he had not used that phrase, the White House has made little attempt to deny the remarks.
The Associated Press said while the Mr Trump offered a partial denial in public, he privately defended his remarks disparaging Haitians and African countries, and which many have described as racist.
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The news agency said Mr Trump claimed was only expressing what many people felt but will not say about immigrants from economically depressed countries, according to a person who spoke to him.
“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used,” Mr Trump said in one of several tweets on Friday morning.
But Mr Trump and his advisers did not dispute the most controversial of his remarks.
Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the only Democrat in the room, said Mr Trump had indeed said what he was reported to have said. The remarks, Durbin said, were “vile, hate-filled and clearly racial in their content”.
He said Mr Trump used the most vulgar term “more than once”.
The African Union attacked Mr Trump in the most blunt of terms. Its mission to the US, said his comments dishonoured “the celebrated American creed and respect for diversity and human dignity”.
“The African Union Commission is frankly alarmed at statements by the president of the United States when referring to migrants of African countries and others in such contemptuous terms,” spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo added.
“Considering the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the US during the Atlantic slave trade, this flies in the face of all accepted behaviour and practice.”
Haiti’s ambassador to the United States also condemned Mr Trump’s language and said his country has asked for an explanation from US officials.
“In the spirit of the people of Haiti we feel in the statements, if they were made, the president was either misinformed or miseducated about Haiti and its people,” Ambassador Paul Altidor said.
Mr Altidor said the Haitian Embassy in Washington had been inundated with emails from Americans apologising for Mr Trump’s words.
Haiti’s largest newspaper condemned Mr Trump’s language as “racist and disgraceful” and said such comments had “no place in the relations between nations or people, even less so in the mouth of a president of a nation friendly to Haiti”.