The s–t has hit the fan.
President Trump’s remarks in the White House that African nations and Haiti are “shithole countries” from where the US should not accept immigrants are being met by fierce global condemnation on Friday.
The United Nations human rights office said his reported use of the slur could “potentially damage and disrupt the lives of many people.”
UN spokesman Rupert Colville said that “you cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’” – adding that, if confirmed, the comments were “shocking and shameful.”
“I’m sorry, but there’s no other word one can use but racist, he added. “You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘s–tholes,’ whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome.”
He said the offensive language “legitimizes the targeting of people based on who they are. This isn’t just a story about vulgar language, it’s about opening the door to humanity’s worst side.”
Colville added that Trump’s expletive-laden rant goes “against the universal values the world has been striving so hard to establish since World War II and the Holocaust.”
The African Union also denounced the president’s words.
“The African Union Commission is frankly alarmed at statements by the president of the United States when referring to migrants of African countries and others in such contemptuous terms,” said Ebba Kalondo, the spokeswoman for commission Chairman Moussa Faki.
“Considering the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the U.S. during the Atlantic slave trade, this flies in the face of all accepted behavior and practice,” she said, the Washington Post reported.
“This is particularly surprising as the United States of America remains a global example of how migration gave birth to a nation built on strong values of diversity and opportunity.”
In El Salvador, the president’s comments were widely reported, with one headline reading: “Donald Trump insults El Salvador.”
Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez responded to Trump’s remarks by tweeting about Salvadoran contributions to the US, saying “a good part of those who helped rebuild New Orleans after Katrina were Salvadoran. I feel proud to be Salvadoran,” according to CNN.
Meanwhile, US diplomats and the US Embassy in San Salvador sought to assure its citizens of their respect for the country.
US envoy Jean Manes tweeted in Spanish: “I have had the privilege to travel around this beautiful country and meet thousands of Salvadorans. It is an honor to live and work here. We remain 100% committed.”
The official account for the US Embassy in San Salvador tweeted in Spanish: “The United States is proud to be a partner of El Salvador and we remain firm in our friendship that dates back various decades.”
In Haiti, people took to social media to voice their disgust.
“Hey #ShitHolePresident!” Harold Isaac tweeted. “Here is what my #shithole looks like.”
Haiti’s ambassador to the US said his country had asked for an official explanation of Trump’s comments from the White House.
“In the spirit of the people of Haiti we feel in the statements, if they were made, the president was either misinformed or miseducated about Haiti and its people, ” Ambassador Paul G. Altidor said in a statement.
Altidor said he was heartened that the Haitian Embassy in Washington was deluged with emails from Americans apologizing for Trump’s remarks, the Washington Post reported.
Meanwhile, African governments quickly found themselves in an awkward position.
As top recipients of American aid, some hesitated to jeopardize it by criticizing Trump, especially as his administration has sought to slash foreign assistance.
“Unless it was specifically said about South Sudan, we have nothing to say,” said South Sudan government spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny.
South Africa’s ruling party is calling Trump’s comment “extremely offensive.”
Deputy Secretary General Jesse Duarte of the African National Congress said developing countries do have difficulties but that the US itself has millions of people out of work or without health care.
She said “we would not deign to make comments as derogatory” as Trump’s.
South African opposition leader Mmusi Maimane called Trump’s comments “abhorrent… The hatred of [Barack] Obama’s roots now extends to an entire continent.”
South African news outlet Daily Maverick wrote: “Casual Friday at the White House is soon to include hoods and tiki torches at this rate.”
Some decided to throw Trump’s vulgarity back in his face.
“Good morning from the greatest most beautiful ‘shithole country’ in the world!!!” South African Broadcasting Corp. anchor Leanne Manas tweeted.
“As someone from South S–thole, Trevor is deeply offended by the president’s remarks,” The Daily Show said of its South African-born host, Trevor Noah, the UK’s Independent reported.
In Kenya, political activist Boniface Mwangi pleaded: “Please don’t confuse the s–thole leaders we Africans elect with our beautiful continent.”
Entrepreneur Wangui Muraguri told The Associated Press in his Nairobi office: “Well, that is the perfect definition of racism. That is all I have to say.”
In Somalia, which is on the US list of nations with Temporary Protected Status, a senior official told CNN that Trump’s comments were unworthy of a response.
“It sounds like fake news to me,” said Somali Information Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman. “If it’s real, it doesn’t need a response. Those comments do not deserve a response.”
With Post Wires