'Irresponsible, reprehensible, and racist': Here's how the world reacted to Trump's 'shithole' comments

Andres Martinez CasaresHaitian President Jovenel Moise will be issuing a formal diplomatic complaint against the US

President Donald Trump ignited a firestorm on Thursday when it was reported that he had called Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations “shithole countries” at a bipartisan meeting on immigration, and said the US needed more immigrants from countries like Norway.

The comments drew immediate and intense backlash from leaders around the globe.

The White House initially issued statements which did not directly deny that Trump had made the defamatory comments. Trump also tweeted on Friday morning that he did not use the “language” that had been reported.

“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA!” Trump wrote.

Regardless of his apparent denial, the international condemnations have continued to roll in.

Here’s how world leaders have reacted to Trump’s comments:

UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein’s spokesman, Rupert Colville, did not mince words: “There is no other word one can use but racist.”

“You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’, whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome,” Colville added. “The future of the Dreamers should not be used as a bargaining chip to negotiate the most severe and restrictive immigration and security measures possible. These are human beings, not commodities.”


Sky News

“We view the utterances by the current American President as highly irresponsible, reprehensible, and racist,” the Ministry of International Affairs of Botswana said in a statement.

“The Botswana Government has also enquired from the US Government through the Ambassador, to clarify if Botswana is regarded as a ‘shithole’ country given that there are Botswana nationals residing in the US, and also that some of Botswana may wish to visit the US,” the statement continued.

“Botswana has accepted US citizens within her borders over the years and continues to host US guests and senior government officials, including a Congressional delegation that will come to Botswana at the end of this month; that is why we view the utterances by the current American President as highly irresponsible, reprehensible, and racist.”

Source: Twitter

The African Union, which represents nearly all of Africa, issued a sharp rebuke of its own: “The African Union Mission condemns the comments in the strongest terms and demands a retraction of the comments as well as an apology.”

The statment built upon a spokeswoman’s comments from earlier in the day.

“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,” African Union spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said. “This is particularly surprising as the United States of America remains a global example of how migration gave birth to a nation built on strong values of diversity and opportunity.”

Source: CBS News

Haiti’s ambassador to the US defended the country’s integrity: “The president was either misinformed or miseducated about Haiti and its people.”

Paul G. Altidor, Haiti’s ambassador to the US, added that Haiti “vehemently condemn[s]” Trump’s comments, saying they were “based on stereotypes.”

Haiti has summoned the highest ranking US official in the country to meet with Haitian President Jovenel Mo├»se in order to explain Trump’s comments. As one of the countries mentioned by name by Trump, Haiti says it seeks to file a formal diplomatic complaint against the US.

Source: The Washington Post

Haiti’s former prime minister did not hold back in his reaction either.”It shows a lack of respect and ignorance never seen before in the recent history of the US by any President,” former Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe tweeted.

The deputy secretary general of the African National Congress, the South African party founded by former President Nelson Mandela, directly quoted Trump’s words: “Ours is not a shithole country, neither is Haiti or any other country in distress.”

Source: The Washington Post

El Salvador hit back at Trump and reminded him of its contributions to the US, including the aid it sent following the September 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina.

“We have addressed a note of protest to the government of the United States highlighting in this document also the high value of Salvadorans,” the government of El Salvador’s statement read, “remembering aspects such as: their contribution in the works for the reconstruction of the Pentagon, after the terrible terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001; as well as his contributions in the reconstruction of New Orleans, after the devastating Hurricane Katrina. Likewise, the role of our country is highlighted along with the United States and other nations in numerous peace missions in the international arena.”

El Salvador’s foreign minister Hugo Martinez added his own response to Trump.

“It’s always been a foreign policy priority of our government to fight for the respect and dignity of our countrymen independent of their immigration status,” Martinz said. “Our countrymen are hard-working people, who are always contributing to the countries where they’re living and, of course, also in our country.”

Martinez he is seeking an official response from American authorities.

Source: The Washington Post

Somalia’s information minister, Abdirahman Omar Osman, said he did not wish to stoop down to Trump’s level: “If it’s real, it doesn’t need a response. Those comments do not deserve a response.”

Osman added he thought it sounded like “fake news.”

Source: CNN

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo tweeted that Trump’s comments were “extremely unfortunate,” and added that Ghana would “not accept such insults, even from a leader of a friendly country, no matter how powerful.”

Ghana’s former president, John Mahama, had some harsher words for Trump.

“Africans and Haitians come from ‘shithole’ countries? Isn’t Trump demonstrating that he’s nothing but a racist and pursuing a policy of ‘Make America White Again’? I congratulate Botswana for showing the way. Our AU Presidents must respond strongly to this insult,” he said on Twitter.

A spokesman for South Sudan did not address the comments directly: “Unless it was specifically said about South Sudan, we have nothing to say.”

Because many African countries receive lots of US aid, some might have been wary to put this funding in jeopardy by condemning Trump’s remarks.

Source: CBS News

Torbjoern Saetre, a conservative politician in Norway, tweeted his thoughts on Trump’s seemingly positive statements about his country: “On behalf of Norway: Thanks, but no thanks.”

Source: Reuters

*Brennan Weiss contributed to this report.

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