President Trump has denied that he is racist, after a row broke out over his alleged use of the word “shithole” to describe African nations.
Mr Trump reportedly used the term last week during a bipartisan Oval Office meeting on immigration reform.
He has now told reporters: “I am not a racist. I’m the least racist person you will ever interview”.
It is the first time the president has responded directly to the racism accusations.
He made the denial to White House press pool reporters at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach on Sunday night.
The row broke out after reports emerged in the US media that during the meeting Mr Trump had asked: “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
Democratic Senator Dick Durbin accused the president of using “hate-filled, vile and racist” language during the meeting.
But several senior Republican lawmakers at the meeting, including Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, have said they do not recall Mr Trump making the remark.
Another Republican Senator who was there, Lindsey Graham, did not deny the comments were made. “Following comments by the president, I said my piece directly to him yesterday. The president and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel,” he said.
The African Union on Friday demanded that the US president apologise after the alleged comments, expressing their “shock, dismay and outrage”.