Trump, after 's---hole’ reports, tells African leaders he ‘deeply respects’ them

Trump, after 's---hole’ reports, tells African leaders he ‘deeply respects’ them
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE said that he "deeply respects" the people of Africa and pledged "strong and respectful relationships" with the continent's nations in a letter sent to African leaders this week. 

The letter, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, was dated Thursday and comes after allegations emerged that Trump demanded in a meeting with lawmakers this month to know why the U.S. should admit immigrants from "shithole countries," including African nations.

The letter came ahead of an African Union summit in Ethiopia, which is taking place this weekend. 

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In the letter, Trump also offered his "best wishes for a successful summit," and noted that his administration is committed to ensuring "free, fair and reciprocal trade" with African nations, while working to "safeguard legal immigration," according to NBC News. 

He said that Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonPress: Acosta, latest to walk the plank A brief timeline of Trump's clashes with intelligence director Dan Coats What is Trump's Iran end game? MORE will make an "extended visit" to the region in March. 

Trump's reported comments decrying immigration from "shithole countries" prompted international backlash, particularly from African leaders, who blasted the remarks as a deep insult from the president of an otherwise friendly country.

After the alleged comments came to light, U.S. diplomats in Africa and elsewhere were summoned by respective governments to explain the remarks. African ambassadors in Washington demanded apologies from the White House.

The African Union also demanded an apology from Trump earlier this month, saying that the reported remarks "dishonor the celebrated American creed and respect for diversity and human dignity."

Trump met with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, the chairman of the African Union, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday. He called their discussions "tremendous."