Donald Trump has insisted that he is not a racist after reports emerged about disparaging comments he made about Haiti and African nations.
The US President reportedly used the word “sh*thole” to describe African countries during an Oval Office meeting last Thursday.
He also questioned the need to admit more Haitians to the US, according to people who were briefed on the conversation but were not authorised to describe the meeting publicly.
Trump addressed the issue briefly as he arrived for dinner at his private golf club with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Asked what he thinks about people who think he is racist, Mr Trump said, “No, No. I am not a racist.”
He told reporters: “I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed. That I can tell you.”
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Mr Trump also denied making the statements attributed to him, but avoided specifics about what he did or did not say.
”Did you see what various senators in the room said about my comments?” he asked. “They weren’t made.”
The White House has not denied that Mr Trump said “sh*thole” though Mr Trump has already pushed back on some depictions of the meeting.
Democratic Senator Dick Durbin insisted that Trump had said what he was reported to have said, describing the remarks as “vile, hate-filled and clearly racial in their content”.
He added: “He said ‘Put me down for wanting more Europeans to come to this country. Why don’t we get more people from Norway?” Mr Durbin said.
However, Republican Senator David Perdue, who also attended the meeting, denied Trump used the term ‘sh*thole’ in the meeting.
Senator Perdue told ABC’s This Week: “I am telling you that he did not use that word. And I’m telling you it’s a gross misrepresentation.”
Trump also tweeted last week that he “never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country”.
He added: ”I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!”