The African Union (AU) on Friday condemned the “hurtful” and “disturbing” remarks made the day before by U.S. President Donald Trump against Haiti and African nations, which he called “shithole countries” in statements reported by the media. “This is not only hurtful, I think, to people of African origin in the United States, but certainly to African citizens,” Ebba Kalondo, Spokeswoman of AU Commission Chairman Moussa Faki, told AFP. “It is even more hurtful given the historical reality of just how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves.”
“This is particularly surprising as the United States of America remains a global example of how migration gave birth to a nation,” Kalondo said, noting that Trump’s “extremely upsetting statement … flies in the face of all accepted behaviour and practice.”
Trump’s outburst came at a meeting on Thursday with senators to discuss a bipartisan proposal to limit family reunification and restrict access to the green card lottery, in exchange for a halt to the deportation of thousands of young people who had arrived as children in the United States.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump asked, according to the Washington Post, which quoted many anonymous sources as stressing that the President was referring to African countries, Haiti and El Salvador. The statements were also reported by New York Times, citing unidentified participants in the meeting.
On Friday, Trump stated that he had not used the term “shithole countries”. “The language used by me at the (…) meeting was tough, but this was not the language used,” he tweeted.
Asked whether his remarks were racist or not, Kalondo responded that they clearly were. She stressed, however, that the United States was a “great country” which represents much more than a single man or a statement.