I am not a racist, I tell the truth—President Trump
Despite his consistent uncomplimentary remarks about Africa and Haiti and his stance on immigration, United States President, Donald Trump has denied has he is a racist.
Anger boiled over last week when Trump labelled African countries and Haiti “shit-hole countries”. Although Trump did not expressly deny the shit-hole remarks, he has expressly said that he is not a racist and he has always said the truth.
BBC reports that the President told White House reporters at his Florida golf resort on Sunday : “I am not a racist. I’m the least racist person you have ever interviewed.”
It is the first time the president has responded directly to the racism accusations.
He made the denial to White House press pool reporters at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach in Florida on Sunday night.
The shit-hole row broke out after lawmakers from both parties visited the president on Thursday to work on a proposal for a bipartisan immigration deal.
Reports later emerged in US media that Mr Trump had asked during the meeting: “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
Mr Trump was said to have told them that instead of granting temporary residency to citizens of countries hit by natural disasters, war or epidemics, the US should be taking in migrants from countries like Norway.
Leaders of African countries like Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo and the African Union have condenmed Trump’s stance on Africa, calling him a racist.
The African Union on Friday demanded that the US president apologise expressing their “shock, dismay and outrage” at the “clearly racist” remarks.
The UN human rights spokesman, Rupert Colville, told a Geneva news briefing: “There is no other word one can use but racist. You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’.”
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) accused the president of falling “deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of racism and xenophobia”.
Several Democratic representatives have said they intend to skip the president’s State of the Union address later this month over the comments, accusing the president of racism.
US Senator, Dick Durbin said “Trump said these hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly”
Media captionDick Durbin: “Trump said these hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly”
Several senior Republican lawmakers at the meeting, including Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, have said they do not recall Mr Trump making the remark.
But another Republican senator who was there, Lindsey Graham, did not deny the comments were made.
“Following comments by the president, I said my piece directly to him yesterday. The president and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel,” he said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, a senior Republican, said that Donald Trump’s immigration comments were “very unfortunate” and “unhelpful”.
Asked on Sunday on whether he thought the comments had made it harder to achieve any immigration deal, Mr Trump responded: “Have you seen what various senators said about my comments? They weren’t made.”t