The organisation representing African countries has demanded that US President Donald Trump apologise after he reportedly called nations on the continent “shitholes”.
The group’s mission in Washington DC on friday expressed its “shock, dismay and outrage” and said the Trump administration misunderstood Africans, the BBC reported.
The US leader made the alleged remark in a Thursday meeting on immigration.
The African Union said the “remarks dishonour the celebrated American creed and respect for diversity and human dignity”.
It added: “While expressing our shock, dismay and outrage, the African Union strongly believes that there is a huge misunderstanding of the African continent and its people by the current Administration.
“There is a serious need for dialogue between the US Administration and the African countries.”
Trump reportedly lashed out at immigrants in a foul-mouthed Oval Office outburst, media reports said on Friday.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump told lawmakers on Thursday, according to the Washington Post.
The remark was reportedly in reference to people from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries, the BBC said. Trump told lawmakers the US should instead be taking in migrants from countries like Norway.
The White House did not deny the comment on Thursday. Trump, however, on Friday, denied using the language reported. Though a backlash to his remarks from all quarters was swift.
Two Republicans, who were at the White House meeting, however, backed Trump’s claim though Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said Trump called African countries “shitholes” several times and used “racist” language.
On Friday, Trump tweeted that the language he used at the private meeting with lawmakers to discuss immigration legislation had been “tough”, the BBC said.
But he added that the words attributed to him were “not the language used”.
The pan-African grouping represents 55 member states throughout the continent. It succeeded the Organisation of African Unity – which originated in the decolonisation struggles of the early 1960s – in 2002.