- Botswana strongly rebuked President Donald Trump’s reported reference to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as “shithole countries.”
- Botswana’s government has asked its ambassador to the US to clarify whether the US regards Botswana as a “shithole” country.
- Many swiftly condemned the president’s comments, though some of his staunchest supporters defended him.
The government of Botswana issued a blistering statement Friday in response to President Donald Trump’s reported reference to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as “shithole countries.”
Botswana’s Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation called on the US’s ambassador to Botswana “to express its displeasure at the alleged utterances made by the President of the US.”
The ministry also asked the ambassador to clarify whether the US regarded Botswana as a “shithole” country, adding that Trump’s comments were “highly irresponsible, reprehensible, and racist.”
During a Thursday meeting on immigration with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, Trump criticized protections the US has given to immigrants from various underdeveloped countries.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to reports from multiple news outlets.
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, who was at the meeting, confirmed to reporters on Friday that Trump had said that.
Trump and the lawmakers had been discussing a visa lottery program that annually allows as many as 50,000 citizens from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the US to reside in the US legally, as well as programs that temporarily protect certain immigrants from deportation that the White House is ending.
The president specifically criticized the Temporary Protected Status the US has given to immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and some African countries.
Botswana wasn’t the only country to lash out against the president’s comments. Haiti’s government and ambassador to the US “vehemently condemn” Trump’s statement, the ambassador, Paul Altidor, told an NBC News contributor.
According to the contributor, Altidor said that “either the president has been misinformed or he is miseducated,” adding that Haiti’s government had formally summoned a US official to explain the comments.
Observers around the world have condemned Trump’s statement. The UN’s human-rights body said, “There is no other word one can use but ‘racist.'”
Some of the president’s supporters defended what they said was the spirit of his comment – that Americans do not benefit from immigration from developing countries.
In a series of tweets Friday, Trump said he used “tough” language but that he “never said anything derogatory” about Haitians. He also suggested his future meetings with lawmakers be recorded.
Read Botswana’s government’s full statement:
— Botswana Government (@BWGovernment) January 12, 2018