Fox News hosts have jumped to the defence of Donald Trump after the US President reportedly referred to El Salvador, Haiti and unspecified African nations as “s***hole countries”.
“Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?” Mr Trump said after being presented with a proposal to restore protections for immigrants from the countries in question.
He asked to know why the US would not instead accept people from places like Norway, whose prime minister he had met with the day before.
In a statement, the White House defended Mr Trump's policies on immigration and did not deny he had made such comments.
Despite them being met with widespread condemnation, prominent Trump supporter and Fox News host Tucker Carlson attempted to justify the President’s words.
“Option A: El Salvador isn't a ‘s***hole,’ so they don't need 17 years of Temporary Protected Status, and migrants from there should be sent home immediately,” he wrote on Twitter. “Option B: El Salvador is, in fact, a ‘s***hole’.”
Nearly 200,000 Salvadorans were given Temporary Protected Status immigration permits in 2001 after a series of earthquakes rocked the Central American country.
Jesse Watters, a political commentator for Fox News, offered a different defence.
“I think it’s either fake news or if it’s true, this is how the forgotten men and women in America talk at the bar,” he said. “This is how Trump relates to people.”
“If you are in a bar in Wisconsin and you are thinking they are bringing in a bunch of Haiti people or El Salvadorians [sic] or people from Niger, this is how some people talk.”
The justification had echoes of Mr Trump’s “locker-room talk” defence over his now infamous 2005 boast about being able to sexually assault women.
Greg Gutfield, co-host of the Fox's talk show The Five, admitted the President was wrong, before trying to justify the comment.
“You’ve got to ask why can’t citizens stay in their country and fix their country?” he said. “Why is it that they can’t do that? How do you describe a country where it’s impossible for you to fix it?”
He went on to compare apartments he had lived in to the countries Mr Trump criticised. “Everyone has lived in an ‘s-hole’,” he said.
Haiti has “formally summoned” an American official to explain what Mr Trump meant by his comments, according to MSNBC.