Donald Trump was embroiled in a row extending half-way around the world after reportedly using the term “shithole countries” to describe Haiti, El Salvador and unspecified African nations in a White House meeting about immigration.
Seeking to limit the fallout from the reported comments, the US President described his language as “tough” but denied using a vulgar slur.
The controversy came as he announced he was cancelling his visit to the UK and will now not be travelling London as expected to open the new US embassy next month.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said the US President had backed down in the face of huge public opposition in Britain and the likelihood of widespread protests.
Mr Trump is quoted as having asked: “Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?"
The Republican said he had cancelled his London visit because of his opposition to the decision to move the US Embassy from Mayfair to Battersea.
MPs did not rush to express their disappointment, with many suggesting the real reason for the cancellation was British public opposition to the visit.
Former Labour leader Ed Miliband wrote in a tweet to Mr Trump: "It's because nobody wanted you to come. And you got the message."
Good morning! On our Westmisnter live blog today we'll be bringing you all the reaction to Donald Trump cancelling his visit to the UK.
The US President said he refused a trip to London to open the new US embassy because he considered moving the building from Mayfair to Battersea to be a "bad deal". The Republican blamed the decision on his predecessor, Barack Obama, although it was actually taken under the previous president, George Bush.
Sadiq Khan has just responded to Donald Trump's decision to cancel his trip to London.
The Mayor of London said:
"It appears that President Trump got the message from the many Londoners who love and admire America and Americans but find his policies and actions the polar opposite of our city's values of inclusion, diversity and tolerance.
"His visit next month would without doubt have been met by mass peaceful protests.
"This just reinforces what a mistake it was for Theresa May to rush and extend an invitation of a state visit in the first place.
"Let's hope that Donald Trump also revisits the pursuit of his divisive agenda."
Here's more, from Lizzy Buchan, on Sadiq Khan's reaction. The Mayor has previously engaged in a war of words with Donald Trump, and had called for the US President's state visit to be cancelled.
CNN host Don Lemon accused Donald Trump of being "racist" after reports the Republican had described developing countries in Latin America and Africa as "s***holes". Full story here:
CNN lead presenter: 'The president of the United States is racist'CNN host Don Lemon has labelled Donald Trump “racist” after reports the President called Haiti and African states “s***hole countries”. Opening his programme on Thursday night, Mr Lemon said: “The President of the United States is racist. A lot of us already knew that.”
As well as asking lawmakers why the US was helping immigrants from a number of developing countries, Mr Trump reportedly suggested trying to attract more people from countries like Norway.
Robert Reich, who served as Barack Obama's Labour Secretary, compared the suggestion to the policies of the Nazis, who, he said, saw Norweigans as among the purest types of Aryans.
Let's quickly recap the inflammatory remarks Donald Trump is said to have made about a number of developing countries.
The comments came during a meeting with Republican senators in the White House on Thursday. They had been discussing a deal under which immigrants from some countries would have their rights guaranteed.
According to the Washington Post, Mr Trump became annoyed and said: “Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?"
He then reportedly suggested the US should focus on attracting people from countries like Norway, whose prime mininister he met earlier in the week.
Specifically referencing the Caribbean nation of Haiti, Mr Trump is said to have added: "Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out."
He also said he was receptive to more immigration from Asian people because he believed they benefit the US economically.
More on the US President's alleged "racist" comments from Clark Mindock here:
Donald Trump referred to Haitians and Africans as coming from 's***hole countries', says reportPresident Donald Trump has reportedly referred to Haiti and African countries as "s***hole countries" during a meeting with congressional leaders in the Oval Office. After ideas for restoration projects to help immigrants in Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries were floated as a potential part of a bipartisan immigration deal, the President grew frustrated.
In an unusually strongly-worded statement, the UN has condemned Donald Trump's comments as “racist” and “shocking and shameful”.
More on that, courtesy of Tom Embury-Dennis, here:
The UN just called Donald Trump racistDonald Trump's reported remark branding Haiti, El Salvador and unspecified African nations as "s***hole countries" has been branded racist by a UN human rights official. "If confirmed these are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States," the spokesperson said. "There is no other word you can use but 'racist'."
The UN just called Donald Trump racistDonald Trump's reported remark branding Haiti, El Salvador and unspecified African nations as "s***hole countries" has been branded racist by a UN human rights official. "If confirmed these are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States," the spokesperson said.
More reaction to Donald Trump's comments, this time from the African Union. The bloc said the US President "flies in the face of all accepted behaviour and practice".
African Union on Trump 's***hole' comments: Unacceptable given how many Africans arrived in the US as slavesUS President Donald Trump's remark that African nations and Haiti are "s***hole countries" and that the US would be ill-advised to accept immigrants from them has continued to stir strong responses.
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