El Salvador foreign minister protests over Trump comments

Flags of African Union members flying at a 2010 summit in Uganda

Trump was reported to have referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as "shithole countries" during a White House meeting with lawmakers on immigration reform.

After signing a proclamation at a Martin Luther King Jr.

During a Thursday meeting with lawmakers on immigration reform, Trump demanded to know why the U.S. should accept citizens from what he called "shithole" countries, according to comments first reported by the Washington Post.

"Following comments by the President, I said my piece directly to him yesterday".

Labossiere was among Haitians and Africans in the Bay Area and around the world who swiftly called Trump out for his comments, calling them blatantly racist.

Dodging the questions, the President said goodbye to his guests and rushed out of the room.

The President is accused of using the slur during a meeting with lawmakers, apparently asking: 'Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?' and 'Why do we need more Haitians?'. Responding to the reports and Trump's declarations on the matter, the Central American country's foreign ministry said the president had "implicitly" accepted the use of "harsh terms detrimental to the dignity of El Salvador and other countries".

"We are the ones who defeated slavery and freed ourselves in 1804", Aubry said, remarking that until the 1960s black people in the United States were subject to legal segregation from whites.

Trump's comments are extremely offensive to South Africa, said Jessie Duarte, a senior official with the ruling African National Congress.

Washington this week announced the end of a special protected status for around 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants in the United States, straining ties between the two countries.

Trump's Republicans were also plainly unhappy, with House Speaker Paul Ryan describing the reported comments as "very unfortunate" and "unhelpful".

In a series of Friday morning tweets, Trump said he used tough language during Thursday's meeting, but he denied using vulgarities.

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"He said 'Put me down for wanting more Europeans to come to this country".

Trump's insults - along with his rejection of the bipartisan immigration deal that six senators had drafted - also threatened to further complicate efforts to extend protections for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants, many of whom were brought to this country as children and now are here illegally.

When Trump heard that Haitians were among those who would benefit from the proposed deal, he asked whether they could be left out of the plan, asking, "Why do we want people from Haiti here?"

Early in the episode, Trump met with some of the show's lawmaker characters for a gathering on immigration that was as much media spectacle as it was a serious attempt to hammer out a legislative compromise. The "shithole" controversy due a sharp rebuke from former Mexican President Vicente Fox, a frequent Trump critic.

Others condemned the USA president's comments as inappropriate or racist.

Some Republicans were also unhappy.

The reported "shithole" comment triggered a firestorm of criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.

In a written statement, Raj Shah, the White House deputy press secretary, did not deny the account of the meeting on Thursday or directly address Trump's comments.

An African Union spokeswoman told The Associated Press it was "frankly alarmed" by the USA president's comments.

What exactly did Trump say?

It said it had sent a protest letter to the United States.

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