WATCH: US citizens, senators slate Trump for his 'hate-filled, racist' comment
Cape Town - US residents and leaders have come out to condemn President Donald Trump after he reportedly referred to Haiti and African countries as "shitholes".
Trump on Thursday reportedly questioned why the US would accept more immigrants from Haiti and "shithole countries" in Africa.
He, however, denied, through a tweet having uttered such remarks. "[I have] never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. [I have] never said 'take them out.' Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings - unfortunately, no trust!"
In a video published in the CNN, US senator Dick Durbin said that Trump "said things which were hate-filled, vile, and racist", adding that "I cannot believe that in the history of the White House, and that of Office, any president has ever spoken those words".
Speaker of the US House of Representatives Paul Davis Ryan Jr described Trump's comment was "very unfortunate, unhelpful", adding that it reminded him of how his family - which came from Ireland - were once "looked down upon".
US diplomats briefed on how to handle 'shithole' storm
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.
Meanwhile, the African Union said it was "frankly alarmed" by Trump's statement. "Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behaviour and practice," AU spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo told 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 added that "we believe that a statement like this hurts our shared global values on diversity, human rights and reciprocal understanding". - Additional reporting by AP, AFP