African Union Slams “Hurtful, Upsetting” Remark by Trump

US President Donald J. Trump signing a bill
US President Donald J. Trump. Photo: Reuters

The African Union said on Friday that President Donald J. Trump‘s reported description of African nations as “shithole countries” broke with “accepted behavior” and was upsetting.

Ebba Kalondo, spokeswoman for AU Chairperson Moussa Faki, told AFP that Mr. Trump’s statement “truly flies in the face of accepted behaviour and practice.”

“This is not only hurtful, I think, to people of African origin in the United States, but certainly to African citizens,” she said.

Earlier in the day, President Trump denied in a tweet that he made any derogatory comments, amid an international furor over the remarks.

Trump, who reportedly made the comment during a meeting with legislators Thursday on immigration reform, drew charges of racism.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, people briefed on the meeting told The Washington Post.

Reuters reported, however, that Democratic Senator Dick Durbin confirmed that President Trump did use ‘vile, vulgar’ language, including the word ‘shithole’, in the immigration meeting with lawmakers.

Botswana’s government summoned the US ambassador on Friday to complain about the reported remarks.

“The Government of Botswana, today summoned the U.S. Ambassador to Botswana to express its displeasure at the alleged utterances made by the President of the U.S.,” the country’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on Twitter.

“We view the utterances by the current American President as highly irresponsible, reprehensible and racist,” it added.

Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N. human rights office, told reporters in Geneva that   Mr. Trump’s comments were shocking, shameful and racist.

“If confirmed, these are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States. Sorry, but there is no other word one can use but ‘racist’,” Mr. Colville said.