President Trump has denied that he is racist, after a row broke out over his alleged use of the word “shithole” to describe African nations. Mr Trump reportedly used the term last week during a bipartisan Oval Office meeting on immigration reform. He has now told reporters: “I am not a racist. I’m the least racist person you will ever interview”. It is the first time the president has responded directly to the racism accusations.

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But Senator Dick Durbin stood by claims, and said that Mr Trump had used “hate-filled, vile and racist” language during the meeting.

The African Union on Friday demanded that the US president apologises after the alleged comments, expressing their “shock, dismay and outrage” at the “clearly racist” remarks. The UN human rights spokesman, Rupert Colville, told a Geneva news briefing: “There is no other word one can use but racist. You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’.”