Secretary of US Homeland Security Department Kirstjen Nielsen has testified under oath that she “did not hear” President Donald Trump use a derogatory word to describe African countries and their immigrants during a meeting with lawmakers last week.
“I did not hear that word used, no sir,” Nielsen testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, when asked if the US president had used profane language to disparage African countries.
US government officials present at a Thursday White House meeting where Trump spoke said the president had referred to countries such as El Salvador, Haiti and certain African nations as “s***hole” countries, urging lawmakers to make efforts to stop immigrants from those countries entering the US, and instead accept immigrants from wealthy and overwhelmingly white countries such as Norway.
“The conversation was very impassioned, I don’t dispute that the president was using tough language, others in the room were also using tough language,” Nielsen said.
“What I was struck with, frankly as I’m sure you were as well, was the general profanity that was used in the room by almost everyone,” she added.
“I was struck more by the fact that the conversation — although passionate and appropriately so — had gotten to a place where many people in the room were using inappropriate language in the oval office in front of the President,” Nielsen (pictured above) noted.
Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham, who were in the White House meeting, have confirmed to the press the reports that Trump had used the vulgarity to describe the nations.
Trump has denied using profane language about African immigrants, though he has said the conversation was “tough.”
Media reports of Trump’s vulgar comments sparked anger and drew global condemnation.
A group of 55 African countries demanded a “retraction and an apology” from Trump and the United Nations also denounced the racist remarks as “shocking,” and “shameful.”
Last week, the Trump administration ended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for more than 260,000 immigrants from El Salvador, forcing them to gradually leave the US.
The US president has also angered Muslims worldwide by imposing travel ban, involving Muslim-majority nations.