But neither he nor the White House denied the most controversial of his comments: using the word "s--hole" to describe countries in Africa and saying he would prefer immigrants from countries like Norway instead. "Do we need more Haitians?" Never said "take them out". "Made up by Dems", Trump wrote.
"This was not the language used", Trump said in a tweet. "Probably should record future meetings - unfortunately, no trust!" he said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who was at the meeting to try to sell the president on a compromise plan to protect about 800,000 mostly younger immigrants from deportation, chimed in at the meeting to defend immigrants.
"He didn't just name a white country, he named the whitest - so white they wear moon-screen", he said.
Altidor said that if Trump disparaged his and other countries, "you hope there would be possibly an apology, again, for what was said here, because we thought [those comments] were misplaced".
Trump's Republicans were also plainly unhappy, with House Speaker Paul Ryan describing the reported comments as "very unfortunate" and "unhelpful". "He said these hate-filled things and he said them repeatedly", Durbin said. I would not talk about nations like this because the people of those countries are made in the image of God and have worth and human dignity.
"I don't think this will just blow over", said Peter Lewis, director of African Studies at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.
But Democratic U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, who had attended the White House meeting, told reporters Trump used "vile, vulgar" language, including the word "shithole".
It has asked the ambassador "to clarify if Botswana is regarded as a "shithole" country given that there are Botswana nationals residing in the U.S., and also that some of Batswana may wish to visit the US".
The president added that the U.S. should get more people from countries like Norway.
House reauthorizes controversial surveillance program
Earlier, the House rejected a measure that would have imposed stiffer restrictions on the Federal Bureau of Investigation . About 90 minutes later, the president issued a follow-up that attempted to walk back his original statement .
The comments were "clearly" racist, Ms Kalondo said, but stressed the United States was "much stronger than the sum total of one man".
What exactly did Trump say?
One said lawmakers in the room were taken aback by Trump's remarks. Trump said, suggesting that more immigrants be brought into the country from places like Norway or Asia.
Once it was clear by mid-afternoon on Thursday that Trump was not going to support the bipartisan deal, the group led by Durbin and Graham issued a terse statement.
"The relationship between the two countries has been strengthened by the fact that millions of sons and daughters of Haiti have contributed and will continue to contribute to the prosperity and greatness of America", it said.
Former vice president Joe Biden condemned the remark on Twitter. "That's not how a president behaves".
"President Trump called on Congress to solve the DACA challenge".
"We're better than this", he added.
The Washington Post reported that Trump made the comment during an Oval Office meeting with immigration negotiators including Sens. Trump's request covers 74 miles of border wall as part of a 10-year, $18 billion proposal.
"President Trump's comments are racist and a disgrace", said Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking Democrat in the House. The Trump administration announced late past year that it would end a temporary residency permit program that allowed almost 60,000 citizens from Haiti to live and work in the United States following a devastating 2010 natural disaster.
At the United Nations, rights office spokesman Rupert Colville called them "shocking and shameful".