A United Nations spokesperson has dubbed President Donald Trump's alleged comments on Haiti and African countries "racist."
While meeting with members of Congress on Jan. 11, Trump reportedly questioned why the United States was accepting more immigrants from Haiti and Africa than places like Norway, the Daily Mail reported.
"Why are we having all these people from s**thole countries come here?" Trump said, according to two people with knowledge of the meeting. The comment was then leaked to The Washington Post.
"Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out," Trump reportedly added during the meeting, according to CNN. The president then reportedly suggested that the United States should seek to welcome more immigrants from countries like Norway.
The private meeting took place at the Oval Office, CNN reported. Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin was outlining a bipartisan immigration deal at the time.
United Nations human rights spokesperson Rupert Colville has since issued a statement on the president's reported comments:
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.
You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as s**tholes whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome.
The positive comment on Norway makes the underlying sentiment very clear.
Like the earlier comments made vilifying Mexicans and Muslims, the policy proposals targeting entire groups on grounds of nationality or religion, and the reluctance to clearly condemn the anti-semitic and racist actions of the white supremacists in Charlottesville -- all of these go against the universal values the world has been striving so hard to establish since World War II and the Holocaust.
This is not just a story about vulgar language, it's about opening the door wider to humanity's worst side, about validating and encouraging racism and xenophobia that will potentially disrupt and destroy the lives of many people.
That is perhaps the single most damaging and dangerous consequence of this type of comment by a major political figure.
In a statement to CNN, White House spokesperson Raj Shah did not deny Trump's alleged "s**thole" remark, but insisted that Trump "is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation."
Trump took to Twitter on Jan. 12 to address the reports.
"The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used," the president tweeted. "What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made - a big setback for DACA!"
"Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country," Trump continued in a later tweet. "Never said 'take them out.' Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings - unfortunately, no trust!"