'S**thole' countries hit back at Trump

Democratic US Senator Dick Durbin is condemning Donald Trump's use of vile language at a White House meeting on immigration, saying the president used "vulgar" language, and repeatedly called African nations "shitholes".

Mr Durbin, speaking to reporters in video that aired on MSNBC on Friday, said he had been explaining a bipartisan group of senators' immigration plan on Thursday and how it impacted immigrants from various countries, including those in Africa.

"That's when he used these vile and vulgar comments calling the nations they come from 'shitholes' - the exact word used by the President, not just once but repeatedly," Mr Durbin said at an event in Chicago.

Mr Durbin's confirmation on Friday comes as Mr Trump sought to walk back the comments saying, "The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used."

Mr Trump had questioned why the United States would want to accept immigrants from Haiti and African nations, referring to some as "shithole countries".

Mr Trump on Friday denied saying "anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country".

The reported language was the latest in a long string of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim comments by Mr Trump that have been condemned as racist.

The President's latest comments drew reactions from abroad on Friday.

In Geneva, the United Nations human rights office said the "racist" remarks would incite xenophobia.

Mr Trump's comments are extremely offensive to South Africa, said Jessie Duarte, a senior official with the ruling African National Congress. "Ours is not a shithole country. Neither is Haiti or any other country in distress," she said.

Former Haitian President Laurent Lamothe called it "a new low" and "totally unacceptable".

"It shows a lack of respect and ignorance never seen before in the recent history of the US by any President."

Ex-Mexican President Vicente Fox told Mr Trump on Twitter his "mouth is the foulest shithole in the world".

"America's greatness is built on diversity, or have you forgotten your immigrant background, Donald?" he asked.

Botswana summoned the US Ambassador to "clarify if Botswana is regarded as a 'shithole'".

The Haitian embassy in Washington said it had been inundated with apologies from Americans.

CNN anchors Don Lemon and Andersoon Cooper both called Mr Trump a racist.

"Let’s not kid ourselves or dance around it," said Mr Cooper, who has visited Haiti a number of times.

"Let me be clear - the people of Haiti have been through more, withstood more, fought back against more injustice than our President ever has."

Anderson Cooper.
Anderson Cooper. Photo credit: Getty

But over on Fox News, host Tucker Carlson said "every single American" actually agree with Mr Trump's summation of Haiti, El Salvador and Africa.

"Those places are dangerous, they're dirty, they're corrupt, and they're poor."

Why Trump said it

At the White House meeting Durbin and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham briefed the President on the newly drafted, bipartisan immigration Bill.

They were explaining how certain immigration programs operate, including one to give safe haven in the US to people from countries suffering from natural disasters or civil strife.

Mr Trump said: "Why do we want all these people from Africa here? They're shithole countries... We should have more people from Norway," according to one source briefed on the conversation.

"On behalf of Norway: Thanks, but no thanks," tweeted Torbjoern Saetre, a Norwegian politician on Friday.

Other Norwegians took to social media to question why they'd leave a country with gun control, paid parental leave and free health care to live in the US.

US Ambassador to Panama John Feeley resigned, saying he can no longer serve the Trump administration.

Reuters / Newshub.