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Trudeau sidesteps questions about 'vulgar' Trump comments; others call remarks 'disturbing'

Last Updated Jan 12, 2018 at 1:59 pm PST

FILE - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses delegates during the 2017 United Nations Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Summary

'I'm not going to opine on what the president may or may not have said,' says Trudeau of Trump's comments

Former Governor General calls Trump's apparent vulgar remarks 'disturbing' and an 'insult before humanity'

Trump denies reports that he used the phrase 's***hole countries' when describing Haiti, African nations

OTTAWA – Canada’s prime minister is refusing to comment on offensive comments reportedly used by US President Donald Trump when describing Haiti and African nations.

According to people briefed on an Oval Office conversation, Trump questioned why the US would accept more immigrants from Haiti and “s***hole countries” in Africa rather than places like Norway.

Trump has denied using offensive terms.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about the reports when he spoke to the media today.

“I think you all know that I’m not going to opine on what the president may or may not have said. I will simply repeat that Canada is a country of openness, of respect, and we will continue to be there to support friends around the world and to welcome people who will contribute to building a stronger country.”

But Trudeau struck a different chord when asked to explain what he meant at a town hall, when he referred to Trump as an unruly neighbour.

“The president prides himself to a certain extent on being unpredictable, on being a bit of a disruptor.”

Former Governor General of Canada weighs in

Michaelle Jean, who was born in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince and spent five years as Canada’s Governor General, is not happy with what she’s hearing from the White House.

Jean describes President Donald Trump’s apparent vulgar remarks as “disturbing” and an “insult before humanity.”

She also points out today is the eighth anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti.

Trudeau also commented on the anniversary. “The response… to that terrible tragedy is one that we can all be proud of. This remains the way Canada engages with countries around the world.”

Trump’s comments have sparked outrage around the world. He has taken to Twitter to deny using offensive terms. But he says he did use tough language.