Politics Trump reportedly asked why a 'pretty Korean lady' intelligence officer wasn't negotiating with North Korea for the US

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Trump reportedly pressed a career US intelligence official on her ethnicity during a briefing last fall.

Donald Trump. play

Donald Trump.

(Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)
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  • President Donald Trump has reportedly made comments about race and ethnicity on several occasions.
  • Allegations of racially charged remarks surfaced after it was reported he asked why the US was letting in immigrants from "shithole countries" in Africa and Central America.
  • His purported remarks have been roundly condemned by US and foreign officials.


Amid the backlash to President Donald Trump reportedly referring to countries in Africa and Central America as "shithole countries," NBC News reports that the president made remarks about the race and ethnicity of at least one US official.

Last fall, after receiving a briefing on Pakistan from a career intelligence officer, Trump reportedly asked the woman, who was briefing the president for her first time, where she was from.

She told him she was from New York, and, when pressed, she added that she was from Manhattan, according to NBC News. The president continued to inquire, asking the officer where "your people" were from, according to two officials with direct knowledge of the incident.

When the analyst told the president her parents were from Korea, Trump reportedly asked another adviser in the room why the "pretty Korean lady" wasn't negotiating with North Korea.

President Donald Trump with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House, June 30, 2017. play

President Donald Trump with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House, June 30, 2017.

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The incident was relayed to NBC News a day after it was reported that Trump asked, "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" during a meeting with a lawmakers to discuss immigration.

Trump was reportedly referring to countries in Africa, as well as Haiti and El Salvador, the latter two of which have seen temporary protected status for immigrants in the US withdrawn in recent months.

Trump on Friday said he used "tough" language but that he "never said anything derogatory" about Haitians.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said on Friday that the president made "hate-filled, vile, and racist" comments during the meeting, "and he said them repeatedly." NBC News also cited a source saying Trump "frequently uses that kind of language," despite those around him telling him not to.

Officials from African countries were taken aback by the report. Botswana's Ministry of International Affairs said the comments were "highly irresponsible, reprehensible, and racist." Haiti's ambassador to the US said he and his government "vehemently condemn[ed]" the remark. In a statement, El Salvador's government said it "categorically rejects that type of statement."