The pastor at the church the vice-president attended in Maryland on Sunday said using the word ‘shithole’ was ‘dehumanizing’ and ‘ugly’
Guardian staff and agencies
A Maryland pastor denounced President Donald Trump’s alleged vulgar description of African nations from the pulpit on Sunday – while Vice-President Mike Pence was sitting in the pews of his church.
Maurice Watson, pastor of Metropolitan Baptist church in Largo, said remarks in which Trump reportedly used the word “shithole” to describe Haiti, El Salvador and African nations were “dehumanizing” and “ugly”.
WUSA-TV reported that Pence became red-faced at times during the sermon. In an email to the Associated Press on Monday, Pence’s office denied that.
Trump has denied using the word during an immigration discussion with congressional leaders in the Oval Office. On Sunday night he claimed to be “the least racist person”.
A Democratic senator who was in the room described Trump’s choice of words. Two Republicans who also attended the meeting contested that version of events.
The Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, told reporters on Monday: “I know what happened. I stand behind every word that I said.”
Trump tweeted: “Senator Dicky Durbin totally misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting. Deals can’t get made when there is no trust! Durbin blew DACA and is hurting our Military.”
In his sermon on Sunday, Watson said “whoever made such a statement” was wrong and should be held accountable, and said he had felt “led by God” to speak up. Many of his congregants come from African nations, he said.
Worshippers stood and applauded.