Jessie Duarte: Ours is not a shithole country

During a meeting on immigration, US President Donald Trump is reported to have said, “Why do we want all these people from Africa here? They’re shithole countries."

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte briefs the media at the Absa Stadium in East London, on 12 January 2018. Picture: Christa van der Walt/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – African National Congress (ANC) deputy secretary Jessie Duarte has reacted to US President Donald Trump's expletive about developing countries, describing it as extremely offensive.

Trump questioned why the US would accept more immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador or countries in Africa, reportedly using the term 'shithole countries'.

Duarte told reporters that developing countries do have difficulties, but that the US itself has millions of people out of work or without healthcare.

“Ours is not a shithole country, neither is Haiti or any other country in distress. It is extremely offensive for President Trump to make statements about other countries that are really not complimentary of the US’s position or policy positions of those countries.”

WATCH: Duarte reacts to Trump's comments

She says the governing party will not deign to make comments as derogatory as Trump's.

The US president has tweeted in response to criticism, implying that he did not use the term as reported.

Trump says while he did use tough language at a meeting on immigration, that specific language was not used.

Trump’s remarks, made in the White House, came as Democratic Senator Dick Durbin and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham briefed the president on a newly drafted immigration bill being touted by a bipartisan group of senators, according to the sources, who asked not to be identified.

Other government officials were present during the conversation, the sources said.

The lawmakers were describing how certain immigration programmes operate, including one to give safe haven in the United States to people from countries suffering from natural disasters or civil strife.

One of the sources who was briefed on the conversation said that Trump said, “Why do we want all these people from Africa here? They’re shithole countries ... We should have more people from Norway.”

The second source familiar with the conversation, said Trump, who has vowed to clamp down on illegal immigration, also questioned the need for Haitians in the United States.

Many Democrats and some Republican lawmakers slammed the president for his remarks.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)