Mr Trump said he was only expressing what many people think, but will not say, about immigrants from economically depressed countries, according to a source who spoke to the president as the controversy unfolded.
"Like all countries, Haiti is a collection of people: it's rich and poor, well-educated and not, good and bad", he said.
In Haiti, on the eighth anniversary of a devastating quake that killed about 220,000 people, the government also summoned the top USA diplomat for an explanation, while the Haitian ambassador to Washington called for an apology. I've not read one of them that's inaccurate.
He said Mr Trump used the most vulgar term "more than once". "He goes ahead and makes these racist remarks, throwing fuel to the fire and making it very hard for anybody to be able to reach an agreement with him".
"He was very kind to the Haitians, he was very eloquent to them, and he was the first president to (have) ever visited Haitians, and he said he was going to be the champion of Haitians", Haitian-American Georges Sami Saati said.
Trump on Friday denied using certain "language", but didn't offer more specifics.
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"Following comments by the president, I said my piece directly to him yesterday", said Graham, who was part of a bipartisan proposal on immigration that Trump rejected at the meeting.
"I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians", the president said. The government of Botswana on Friday issued a statement condemning the remarks, calling them "irresponsible, reprehensible and racist", and urging other nations to take a stand against Trump's remarks.
Why should we accept any less from the President of the United States of America?A country, by the way, that's played a hand in the poverty Haiti and other nations face today.
Trump's reported comments, made during closed-door White House talks on an immigration deal on Thursday, were a reaction to a plan drafted by a bipartisan group of senators to protect juvenile immigrants from deportation and make other changes to immigration laws and border security.
Like Trump, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida is a member of the Republican Party.
"The President's comments damaged us greatly".
"The United States of America is a big country and the United States of America goes beyond just one man or one statement", she said.