Trump's words rip open the debate over whether he's racist

President Trump, speaking on November 14, 2017.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump's incendiary comments about immigrants have ripped open a jarring debate in the United States and around the world: Is the American president racist?

To Democrats and some historians, there is little dispute given Trump's own words and actions. On Thursday, he was quoted as using vulgar language to reject the idea of increased immigration from Haiti and countries in Africa.

Few Republicans defended the president's remarks Friday, and party leaders were silent most of the day. Those who did argued the comments were unvarnished statements on the economic blight in some regions of the world, not an expression of a racial preference. Others said Trump was voicing views held quietly by many.

Trump said during the 2016 campaign that he was the "least racist person there is."

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