US diplomats briefed on how to handle 'shithole' storm
Washington - US diplomats serving in Haiti and African countries have been briefed to convey Washington's respect if they are summoned to explain President Donald Trump's alleged insults.
So far, the State Department said, the US charge d'affaires in Haiti and ambassador in Botswana have been called in by their hosts after Trump reportedly dubbed these countries "shitholes".
Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Steve Goldstein noted that Trump denies that he uses such language, but said the envoys had been briefed on how to respond to complaints.
"We sent guidance to our folks and told them that we must reiterate that we have great respect for the people of Africa and all nations, and our commitment remains strong," he said.
"The ambassadors and the charges will note what an honor it is to be in their posts and how much we value our relationship with the people of the nation where they represent us."
"If any country asks our charge or our ambassador to come over, they will. They'll listen, that's their primary job to listen, and they'll reiterate the respect we have for that nation."
Earlier, the government of Botswana had announced that it had summoned the US ambassador to explain Trump's comments, reportedly made on Thursday at a White House meeting on immigration.
The statement said Gaborone had sought clarification on whether "Botswana is regarded as a 'shithole' country given that there are Botswana nationals residing in the US".
"We view the utterances by the current American President as highly irresponsible, reprehensible and racist," it added.