During a White House news conference with Nigerian Prime Minster Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, President Trump defended calling African nations “shithole countries.”
A reporter asked Buhari if he and Trump discussed “his reported comments from earlier this year, when he reportedly used vulgar language to describe African nations” during their talks earlier in the day.
Buhari diplomatically dodged the question, saying, “I’m very careful with what the press says about other than myself, um, I’m not sure about the validity of whether that allegation against was true or not, so the best thing for me is to keep quiet.”
But Trump jumped in, saying “we didn’t discuss it,” and then indicated that if the two heads of state had, he wouldn’t have felt compelled to apologize for anything.
“We didn’t discuss it, and you do have some countries that are in very bad shape and very tough places to live in,” Trump said. “But we didn’t discuss it because the president knows me and he knows where I’m coming from, and I appreciate that.”
In January, the Washington Post reported that during a bipartisan meeting about immigration from countries like Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations, Trump said, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
As Trump’s comments were widely criticized as racist, the White House released a statement that didn’t deny anything, but instead touted that while “certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries… President Trump will always fight for the American people.”
Trump later denied that he said anything “derogatory about Haitians.” Notably, however, he didn’t deny calling African countries “shitholes.”
During another part of Monday’s news conference, Trump was asked if he has any regrets about calling for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” during the presidential campaign. Trump indicated he has no regrets about that racially incendiary comment either.
TRUMP on his call for a Muslim ban during the campaign: "There is nothing to apologize for." pic.twitter.com/zufM2fhBwL
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 30, 2018
“There is no reason to apologize,” Trump said. “There is nothing to apologize for. We have to have strong immigration laws to protect our country.”