AU blasts Trump for remark on 'shithole countries'

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Media caption The countries with Temporary Protected Status that Trump could be talking about

Using vulgar language, Trump on Thursday questioned why the USA would accept more immigrants from Haiti and "s-thole countries" in Africa rather than places like Norway in rejecting a bipartisan immigration deal, a Democratic aide briefed on Thursday's meeting told NBC News.

Trump did not respond to shouted questions about his comments as he signed a proclamation Friday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

"I have never met a Haitian who isn't strong", Cooper said.

"Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behavior and practice", AU spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said. He went on to criticize the immigration deal, saying: "What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made - a big setback for DACA!"

The White House on Thursday did not deny the president's alarming remarks, and instead defended Trump's stance on immigration and will to "fight for the American people". But the White House later rejected it, plunging the issue back into uncertainty just eight days before a deadline that threatens a government shutdown.

A Democratic aide briefed on the meeting told NBC News 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.

The lawmakers discussed restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries, the Post reported, which for almost three decades have been granted to help people who are temporarily unable to return to their countries because of armed conflict, disasters or other conditions.

"Ours is not a shithole country, neither is Haiti or any other country in distress", Jessie Duarte, the deputy secretary general of the ANC, said at a news conference in South Africa's Eastern Cape province.

Anderson Cooper fought back tears Thursday night as he addressed President Trump's comments about several countries, including Haiti, where the CNN host reported in the wake of the 2010 natural disaster that killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced more than one million.

Trump's remarks were remarkable even by the standards of a president who has been accused of racism by his foes and who has routinely smashed through public decorum that his modern predecessors have generally embraced.

David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee and former UK Foreign Minister, said the "Trump Administration (is) leading a race to the bottom on refugees and immigrants that is a betrayal of America's future as well as of its history". He said there were "very fine people on both sides" after violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, left one counter-protester dead.

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Media captionTPS recipients from El Salvador worried about their future in the US
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionTPS recipients from El Salvador worried about their future in the US

A senator has rejected Donald Trump's effort to distance himself from claims that he used vulgar language to describe African countries, claiming the president "said these hate-filled things and he said them repeatedly".

Democratic Senator Richard Durbin had just been discussing United States temporary residency permits granted to citizens of countries hit by natural disasters, war or epidemics, according to U.S. media.

Some in Africa chose to own Trump's vulgar language or throw it back in his face.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly describe the conversation.

According to reports, Haiti has summoned a United States official to explain Trump's alleged comments, and now Botswana has followed suit.

Trump has spoken positively about Haitians in public.

And Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said in a tweet that the reported remark "ignores the contributions thousands of Haitians have made to our #SoFla community and nation".

Trump's agreement has always been essential to any immigration deal. Sen.

"Unless it was specifically said about South Sudan, we have nothing to say", South Sudan government spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told The Associated Press. It was unclear why the four Republicans were there, and the session did not produce the results the two senators were hoping for.

The White House issued a statement that did not deny the remarks. But she added, "We feel like we're close".

The six senators have been meeting for months to find a way to revive protections for the "Dreamers". Trump a year ago ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provided protection from deportation and the ability to work legally in the country.

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