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Trump says he is not racist

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Washington, Jan 15 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has said he was not a racist after he was criticized over his "sh**hole" characterisation of African countries.

"Nah, I’m not a racist. I’m the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you," a report in the Washington Post quoted Trump as saying.

According to people present in the Oval Office meeting last week, Trump was frustrated that migrants from El Salvador, Haiti and certain African countries were allowed into the US.

"Why are we having all these people from s**thole countries come here," he said, evoking sharp criticism.

Interestingly, Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, who were present when Trump made the vulgar remarks against poor countries, had earlier said they could not recall if Trump had used a word like "sh**hole". However, on Sunday they clearly denied that Trump had said so.

"The White House did not dispute Trump’s use of the vulgarity. Trump offered a vague denial in a tweet on Friday, and not until Cotton and Perdue spoke on Sunday did another participant challenge whether Trump had used the word ‘sh**hole’," the Post reported.

The UN’s human rights office on Friday said derogatory remarks made by US President Donald Trump regarding the nations of El Salvador and Haiti were "racist".

Rupert Colville, a spokesperson for the United Nation High Commissioner for Human Rights, condemned Trump’s characterisation of the two countries as "s**tholes" during a meeting on Thursday with lawmakers on a bipartisan immigration deal, Efe news agency reported.

"These comments by the President of the US are surprising and shameful," Colville said. "I’m sorry, but they cannot be defined as anything other than racist."

Trump also denied that he had spoiled chances for an immigration overhaul in Congress by using a derogatory term to describe few poor countries.

In a tweet on Sunday, Trump said the Obama-era immigration programme "DACA" is "probably dead", despite the federal government resumed accepting applications for the same on Saturday.

DACA is the acronym of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a 2012 programme that gave foreigners who entered the US as minors a legal permit to reside and work in the country.

"DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military," Trump tweeted.

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