The President made the comments during an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers.A person familiar with the meeting said two lawmakers floated a plan to Trump that involved cutting the visa lottery in half and, at the behest of the Congressional Black Caucus, the rest would go to underrepresented countries in Africa and Temporary Protective Status nations, including Haiti.The Trump administration late a year ago announced it would end the TPS designation for Haiti, a move that could impact tens of thousands of Haitian immigrants.
According to three people who were briefed on the conversation, Trump questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and "shithole countries" in Africa rather than places like Norway, as he rejected a bipartisan immigration deal.
Stressing his preference for what he called "merit-based system of immigration", Trump said immigrants from a country such as Norway "would help take our country to the next level".
The New York Times recently reported that Trump had said in a separate June meeting on immigration that Haitians "all have AIDS", citing a person who attended the meeting.
"I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians", he said on twitter, adding that democrats had made the accusations up. "I represent Florida, and we are an unbelievable melting pot where over 250 languages are spoken", Scott said in a statement.
"The Government of Botswana is wondering why President Trump, must use this descriptor and derogatory word, when talking about countries with whom the United States has had cordial and mutually beneficial bilateral relations for so many years".
Since taking office, he has announced he will end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for several groups in the United States, including Haitians and Salvadorans.
Uganda's state minister for global relations, Henry Okello Oryem, said the comments were "unfortunate and regrettable", adding: "W e pray that the almighty god gives him wisdom to change his mind about people who are suffering and looking for safe haven in America".
The meeting delivered a significant setback to the bipartisan working group, which first announced the deal earlier on Thursday afternoon.
Tom Cotton and David Perdue, said they "do not recall the President saying these comments specifically". Trump said, according to these people, referring to African countries and Haiti.
US President Donald Trump is out for a merit-based immigration system.
He has denounced NFL players who kneel during the national anthem in protest at police brutality against African Americans, and made questionable comments about a white supremacist rally in Virginia that turned violent.
Trump's comments came as Durbin was presenting details of the compromise plan that included providing $1.6 billion for a first installment of the president's long-sought border wall. That was the USA economy's annual rate of growth from July through September, according to Commerce Department data last month.
In the same meeting, he said, "Why do we need more Haitians?"
Associated Press writers Elias Meseret in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Sam Mednick in Juba, South Sudan; Joe Mwihia in Nairobi, Kenya and Sam Olukoya in Lagos, Nigeria contributed.
African media outlets and the continent's young, connected population are less shy.
The program that was being discussed at the White House is called Temporary Protected Status.