US President Donald Trump’s Thursday reference to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” during a meeting with a bipartisan group of senators at the White House continues to draw wild criticism with many critics saying Trump’s remark was a new diplomatic low for US’s global relations.

NBC reported that two sources briefed on the conversation said that during the portion of the conversation about Haiti — which came at the top of the exchange that led to the “shithole” comment — the president questioned why Haitians should be given specific consideration.

“Why do we need more Haitians, take them out,” he said, according to NBC sources.

Someone else in the room responded: “Because if you do, it will be obvious why.”

The comments came as US senators huddled in the Oval Office with Trump to discuss a path forward on an immigration deal. Trump questioned why the United States would want people from nations such as Haiti while he was being briefed on changes to the visa lottery system.

When the group came to discussing immigration from Africa, Trump asked why America would want immigrants from “all these shithole countries” and that the U.S. should have more people coming in from places like Norway.

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US President Donald Trump is out for a merit-based immigration system. /Photo: AFP

But White House explained the language Trump used was his way of trying to emphasize his support for a merit-based immigration system.

“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah was quoted by NBC Thursday.

This was part of a lengthy statement that did not directly dispute the language reportedly used in the meeting, NBC stated.

“He (Trump) will always reject temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans, and undercut immigrants who seek a better life in the United States through a legal pathway,” the statement added.

The Trump remark has irked a cross section of social media users and Update Kenya features some of the most prominent protests seen via Twitter on Friday.