White House denies Trump said Nigerians live in huts

Donald Trump on telephone

The US White House has denied a New York Times report that President Donald Trump allegedly made offensive comments about black immigrants – specifically Haitians and Nigerians.

The newspaper on Saturday reported that during a June Oval Office meeting attended by top White House officials, the President was supposedly angered by just how many immigrants had received visas to enter the US in 2017, according to six officials who attended or were briefed about the meeting.

It reported that Mr Trump had read a list revealing the number of immigrants that had entered the country: “Haiti had sent 15,000 people. They ‘all have AIDS,’ he grumbled,” according to one person who attended the meeting and another person who was briefed about it by a different person who was there.

Forty thousand had come from Nigeria, Mr Trump added. Once they had seen the United States, they would never “go back to their huts” in Africa, recalled the two officials, who asked for anonymity to discuss a sensitive conversation in the Oval Office.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders attacked the Times reporting on Saturday in the White House denial.

“General Kelly, General McMaster, Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Nielsen and all other senior staff actually in the meeting deny these outrageous claims. It’s both sad and telling the New York Times would print the lies of their anonymous ‘sources’ anyway,” she said.

But the denial did not keep activists who have been critical of Mr Trump’s policies toward immigrants from criticising the reported comments.