The Latest: US embassy tries to calm Africa’s Trump outrage
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s comments on Africa and Haiti (all times local):
The U.S. Embassy in South Africa says the United States “deeply respects the people of Africa” as President Donald Trump’s remark about immigrants from Africa causes outrage across the continent.
The U.S. embassy says on Twitter “there has been no change in our dedication to partners and friends across the continent.”
African leaders have expressed shock and disgust at Trump’s comment.
The chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, calls the remarks “unfortunate” and says he is “all the more dismayed as the USA is a unique example of how migration contributes to nation-building based on values of diversity, tolerance and opportunity.”
Botswana’s government called Trump’s comment “reprehensible and racist” and summoned the U.S. ambassador to explain.
The U.N. spokesman says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has repeatedly said that “the dignity, equality and human rights of refugees and migrants has to be respected everywhere.”
Stephane Dujarric responded Friday to questions seeking the U.N. chief’s reaction to U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments questioning why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and “shithole” countries in Africa saying Trump has denied making those comments.
Dujarric referred reporters to Guterres’ speech Thursday on migration. In that, Guterres urged all countries to focus on the overwhelmingly positive contributions of migrants and use “facts not prejudice.” The U.N. chief warned that authorities who erect obstacles “inflict needless economic self-harm” and “unintentionally encourage illegal migration.”
The message appeared clearly aimed at European countries, the United States and other nations that restricted migration.
El Salvador says it has sent a diplomatic protest note to the United States expressing the country’s “resounding rejection” of a remark attributed to President Donald Trump.
The Central American nation’s Foreign Ministry says in a statement that “El Salvador demands respect for its brave and dignified people.”
During an Oval Office meeting Thursday, Trump reportedly questioned the need for more immigrants from Haiti and used disparaging language to refer to countries in Africa.
The meeting was held to discuss a possible bipartisan immigration deal. Earlier this week, the U.S. announced that it is rescinding Temporary Protected Status for around 200,000 Salvadorans in the United States that lets them live and work legally in the country.
Washington also recently rescinded TPS for Haitians and Nicaraguans.
Senegal’s president says he is “shocked” by President Donald Trump’s vulgar remark about immigrants from African countries and Haiti, saying that “Africa and the black race merit the respect and consideration of all.”
President Macky Sall joined the growing condemnation by a number of countries across the continent.
The West African nation has often been praised by the U.S. as an example of stable democracy in the region.
The U.S. State Department is trying to calm things down after President Donald Trump’s vulgar remark about immigrants from African countries.
A new tweet from the department’s Bureau of African Affairs says that “the United States will continue to robustly, enthusiastically and forcefully engage in #Africa, promoting this vital relationship, and to listen and build on the trust and views we share with our African partners.”
The tweet doesn’t directly reference Trump’s comment. The president on Friday denied using the language but a senator present at a White House immigration meeting says he used it repeatedly.
Haiti says it is “deeply shocked and outraged” by President Donald Trump’s reported vulgar remark on immigration, calling it “racist.”
The Haitian government says in a statement that “these insulting and reprehensible statements in no way reflect the virtues of wisdom, restraint and discernment that must be cultivated by any high political authority.”
It adds that the comment as reported “reflects a totally erroneous and racist view of the Haitian community and its contribution to the United States.”
Trump on Thursday questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and “shithole countries” in Africa. He denied Friday that he used the vulgar expression, saying “this was not the language used.”
Haiti’s ambassador to Washington told local radio that his government has complained to the U.S. Embassy.
A senior European Union lawmaker says President Donald Trump “has forgotten to engage his brain before talking” about immigrants and is not fit for office.
Socialist group President Gianni Pittella says that after insulting Mexicans and Muslims “now it is Haiti, El Salvador and African people being targeted by the U.S. president’s delirious and racist words.”
Pittella says that “every passing day, Trump proves not to be fit to run the U.S. and lead the international community. Insulting, bullying, threatening is the only language Trump knows. It is no longer tolerable.”
Pittella leads the second-largest party group in the EU assembly.
It’s not all anger and condemnation in Africa after President Donald Trump’s vulgar remark about immigrants. Some on the continent say they agree.
“President Donald Trump is absolutely right,” says Mamady Traore, a 30-year-old sociologist in the West African nation of Guinea. “When you have heads of state who mess with the constitutions to perpetuate their power. When you have rebel factions that kill children, disembowel women as saints, who mutilate innocent civilians.”
Then again, others are not happy with Trump himself.
“Donald Trump is an unstable character who would critique his own image if it was doubled,” says Marlyatou Sow, a 32-year-old student in Guinea. His comments show “that he doesn’t have a heightened vision and that he is nothing less than a businessman who arrived at the White House purely by chance.”
A senior Trump administration official says the top U.S. diplomat in Haiti has been summoned to meet with Haiti’s president to explain President Donald Trump’s remark about immigrants.
Robin Diallo, the charge d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy, is the most senior diplomat there as the Trump administration does not have an ambassador in place.
The administration official says Diallo plans to listen to the Haitian leader’s concerns and reiterate the strong U.S. relationship with Haiti. The administration official demanded anonymity because the official wasn’t authorized to disclose diplomatic conversations.
— Josh Lederman in Washington
A French government spokesman says “silence” is preferable to any reaction in response to President Donald Trump’s vulgar comments on immigrants from African nations and Haiti.
Benjamin Grivaux told reporters after a weekly Cabinet meeting “it’s obviously not advisable” to speak the way Trump “reportedly” spoke when he asked why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and “shithole countries” in Africa rather than places like Norway.
Grivaux says that “we must keep a correct language especially when we speak about countries that sometimes suffered from bad weather, a great poverty and that are in a great distress.”
An opposition lawmaker in Ghana is calling for a boycott by developing countries against the United States until President Donald Trump leaves office following his derogatory remarks against immigrants from Haiti and African nations.
Ras Mubarak says countries should send a “strong message to Trump that the world is united against his kind of politics, which is bigoted, divisive and not healthy.”
Mubarak adds that “the sooner he is made aware that America needs the world and the world needs America the better it is for all of us.”
Norwegians are baffled and discomfited to be the subject of President Donald Trump’s backhanded compliment in his vulgar comments on immigrants from African nations and Haiti.
Trump spoke after a bilateral meeting with Norway’s prime minister, asking why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and “shithole countries” in Africa rather than places like Norway.
Henrik Heldahl, a commentator for the Amerikansk Politikk website, says the sentiment about Norway might have been welcomed without the rest of the statement. “But the way he said it guarantees that the reaction here will be very negative.”
Hilde Restad, a university associate professor in international studies, says Trump has achieved the unlikely feat of praising Norway while still offending its citizens.
She says that “Norwegians in general have such a minority complex that as long as we are noticed we get very excited. But in general we are not wanting to be flattered by this U.S. president in this way.”
Botswana’s government is calling President Donald Trump’s vulgar comment on immigrants from African nations and Haiti “reprehensible and racist.”
A statement by the southern African nation says the U.S. ambassador has been summoned. Botswana says it wants to clarify whether the nation is regarded so poorly after years of cordial relations.
Other African nations have begun speaking up.
Uganda’s state minister for international relations, Henry Okello Oryem, calls Trump’s remarks “unfortunate and regrettable.”
He adds that “we pray that the almighty God gives him wisdom to change his mind about people who are suffering and looking for safe haven in America.”
He says he hopes African heads of state will reply to Trump at an African Union summit later this month.
The U.N. human rights office says President Donald Trump’s reported use of an expletive to describe Africa and other countries could “potentially damage and disrupt the lives of many people.”
Spokesman Rupert Colville says the comments, if confirmed, were “shocking and shameful” and “I’m sorry, but there’s no other word one can use but racist.”
People briefed on the extraordinary Oval Office conversation confirmed the remarks, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss it publicly. White House spokesman Raj Shah did not deny them when asked, although Trump later did.
Colville says Trump’s reported comment could endanger lives by potentially fanning xenophobia: “It legitimizes the targeting of people based on who they are.”
“This isn’t just a story about vulgar language, it’s about opening the door to humanity’s worst side,” he said.
Colville says Trump’s reported comments “go against the universal values the world has been striving so hard to establish since World War II and the Holocaust.”
The U.S. government’s Africa Media Hub is trying to put out the flames sparked by President Donald Trump’s vulgar comments about African immigrants.
Without directly referring to Trump’s statement, the tweet says that “US remains committed to working together w/Africans to realize the promise of a more peaceful, more productive, more prosperous 21st century Africa. US deeply respects the people of #Africa & values its partnerships with them.”
Trump on Thursday questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and “shithole countries” in Africa rather than places like Norway in rejecting a bipartisan immigration deal.
South Africa’s ruling party is calling President Donald Trump’s comment on African immigrants “extremely offensive.”
Deputy secretary general Jesse Duarte of the African National Congress tells reporters that developing countries do have difficulties but that the United States itself has millions of people out of work or without health care.
She says that “we would not deign to make comments as derogatory” as Trump’s.
Trump has questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and “shithole countries” in Africa rather than places like Norway in rejecting a bipartisan immigration deal.
The African Union says it is “frankly alarmed” by President Donald Trump’s statement in which he used vulgar language to question why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from African countries and Haiti.
“Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behavior and practice,” AU spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo tells The Associated Press. “This is particularly surprising as the United States of America remains a global example of how migration gave birth to a nation built on strong values of diversity and opportunity.”
She adds that “we believe that a statement like this hurts our shared global values on diversity, human rights and reciprocal understanding.”
Africa is waking up to find President Donald Trump has finally taken an interest in the continent. It’s not what people expected.
Trump has questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and “shithole countries” in Africa rather than places like Norway in rejecting an immigration deal.
African governments find themselves in an awkward position. As top recipients of U.S. aid, some hesitate to jeopardize it by criticizing Trump.
In South Sudan, government spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny says that “unless it was specifically said about South Sudan, we have nothing to say.”
African media outlets and the continent’s young, connected population are less shy.
“Casual Friday at the White House is soon to include hoods and tiki torches at this rate,” South African media outlet Daily Maverick says.