The UN's human rights office has criticized U.S. President Donald Trump over remarks in which he reportedly described immigrants from Africa and Haiti as coming from "shithole" countries, saying such comments were "racist."
The comment from UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville on January 12 was part of a hail of criticism of the remarks that Trump reportedly made at an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers the previous day.
Trump questioned why the United States would want to have immigrants from Haiti and African nations, referring to some as "shithole countries," according to media reports that cited unnamed sources familiar with the meeting.
"There is no other word one can use but 'racist'," Colville told reporters in Geneva when asked about the comments. "You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as 'shitholes,' whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome."
Trump was speaking as two senators presented details of a bipartisan compromise that would extend protections against deportation to hundreds of thousands of young immigrants and also strengthen border protections.
Trump said that the United States should accept more immigrants from countries like Norway, the reports said.
White House spokesman Raj Shah did not deny that Trump made the remark, which drew criticism from Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
"Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people," Shah said.
Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, a senior Democratic lawmaker, said that Trump's comments were "racist and a disgrace."
Republican Representative Mia Love of Utah, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, said Trump's reported remarks were "unacceptable from the leader of our nation" and called on him to apologize.