United States President Donald Trump on Sunday defended himself following allegations that he used derogatory comments to describe Haiti and African nations. “I am not a racist,” Trump said, according to Reuters.

“I’m the least racist person you have ever interviewed,” Trump told reporters at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach on Sunday night. This is the first time he has responded directly to the accusations of racism, though he had earlier denied using the derogatory term.

Trump reportedly used the words “shithole countries” to refer to third-world nations from Africa, along with Haiti and El Salvador, in the Oval Office at the White House on January 11. The incident occurred when senators in Trump’s office were discussing measures to protect immigrants in the United States.

Trump reportedly interrupted the meeting and said, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” He then suggested that instead of bringing in people from the countries he was explicitly opposed to, the United States should try bringing in people from countries like Norway. Trump also suggested that even Asian countries are okay in his book as they are of use to the United States’ economy, according to him.

In particular, Trump was aghast with the idea of Haitian immigrants – he reportedly said, “Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.” The US president later denied the comments, and said that it was made up by the Democrats.

Keeps door open for DACA deal

Trump also said that he was ready and willing to reach a deal to protect illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children from being deported. “We’re ready, willing and able to make a deal on DACA, but I don’t think the Democrats want to make a deal...The Democrats are the ones that aren’t going to make a deal,” Trump said.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA programme protects children of undocumented immigrants to the United States from deportation.

A judge in San Francisco had on January 9 temporarily barred the Trump administration from ending the DACA programme. The federal government had announced in September 2017 that it would cancel the programme. Subsequently, the decision was challenged in several courts.

On January 9, District Judge William Alsup ruled that the DACA programme must remain in place until the federal cases were resolved.