International organisations including the UN and African Union, politicians and ordinary Africans and Caribbeans are outraged over US President Donald Trump’s latest racist remarks.
The president criticised immigration to his country from El Salvador, Haiti and the African continent, by calling the group “shithole countries”, according to the US media.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump asked at a meeting with congress members, reports said on Thursday, citing people with knowledge on the conversation.
Trump suggested the US should instead focus its immigrant entry policy on countries such as Norway, according to the reports.
Rupert Colville, spokesman of the UN human rights office, said: “You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as shitholes … I’m sorry, but there’s no other word one can use but racist.”
Colville said the story wasn’t “just a story about vulgar language, it’s about opening the door to humanity’s worst side”.
The African Union said it was “frankly alarmed”.
“Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behaviour and practice,” said AU spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo.
South Africa’s ruling ANC party said Trump’s comments were “extremely offensive”, with a spokeswoman saying the party would never deign to make such derogatory remarks.
Morocco-based Africa analyst Adama Gaye told Al Jazeera: “Trump has shown a continuous display of racism towards Africa [and people from poor nations].”
Following the publication of the media reports, the White House issued a statement in which it did not directly challenge the authenticity of the comments.
“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” the White House said.
Many took to social media to condemn the president.
Democratic State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry said on Twitter: “I have to first express how demoralising & upsetting it is to have to register my outrage again and again over hateful remarks made by my own president.”
She then posted a statement saying: “I’m very disappointed in us, the people of the United States, who saw fit to elect an ignorant, mean-spirited, white supremacist to the most powerful office in the world.”
Writer Wajahat Ali said in a tweet: “In just 11 days, Trump has insulted Pakistan, a country of 200 million, Haiti (11 million), El Salvador (6 million), the entire continent of Africa (which is not a country & has 1.2 billion) & millions of Americans. So, about 1.5 billion people. 20% of the world. Week isn’t over.”