US President Donald Trump sparked global furore after reportedly using the phrase "shithole countries" to describe Haiti and African countries this week. Trump reportedly made the remarks at a White House meeting on immigration on Thursday (11 January) during which he questioned why the US would want to accept immigrants from "shithole countries" - referring to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations.
"Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump asked during the meeting, the Washington Post reported. "Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out," he said. He also reportedly suggested that the US should bring in more people from countries like Norway.
Trump's comments were immediately denounced as racist and xenophobic at home and abroad, by the United Nations human rights office and politicians from the countries named.
While the White House did not deny the controversial remarks, Trump tweeted on Friday that he never said "anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country."
"The language used by me at the Daca meeting was tough, but this was not the language used," Trump wrote in a series of tweets, referring to the program to protect young undocumented immigrants who were illegally brought into the country as children. "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. Never said 'take them out.' Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!"
The president also accused Democrats of "not being interested in life and safety" and slammed the DACA proposals as "a big step backwards." He also claimed the deal would force the US to "to take large numbers of people from high crime countries which are doing badly", but did not offer any specifics or evidence.
"I want a merit-based system of immigrant and people who will help take our country to the next level," Trump tweeted. "I want safety and security for our people. I want to stop the massive inflow of drugs."
Meanwhile, Twitter users were not impressed with the president's "shithead" explanation for the controversial remarks and lack of an apology.
Many social media users accused the president of being a "pathological liar" with one person saying: "Nobody believes you Trump! How awful for the US - such a great country- to have such a poor leader on the international front," one person tweeted.
"Trump is a disgusting racist, sexist sociopath and terrible for the country," one Twitter user wrote.
"Trump has lied about pretty well everything in his life, with impunity. So no surprise he is going to lie about this too. He has never been held accountable," theoretical physicist Lawrence M. Krauss tweeted.