Washington: US President Donald Trump has reportedly lashed out at immigrants in a foul-mouthed Oval Office outburst, media reports said. A backlash to his latest remarks was swift.
"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, which has been confirmed by other US media.
In Thursday's meeting, lawmakers were reportedly proposing restoring the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) permits for certain countries, while offering $1.5bn for a wall that Trump wants built on the US border with Mexico.
Trump's comments "are further proof that his Make America Great Again agenda is really a Make America White Again agenda", black Democratic lawmaker Cedric Richmond said.
"Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people," a statement from White House spokesman Raj Shah said.
It continued: "Like other countries that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation.
"He will always reject temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans, and undercut immigrants who seek a better life in the US through a legal pathway."
Trump's remark reportedly came as lawmakers from both parties visited him to propose a bipartisan immigration deal, the BBC said.