This week's edition of The 45th newsletter.

Donald Trump's alleged remarks about Haiti and African nations being "shithole countries" during a bipartisan meeting on immigration at the White House last week has reignited debate about the president's attitudes to race and threatens to scuttle an immigration reform deal between the two parties.

Trump had been questioning why the United States would accept more immigrants from Haiti and parts of Africa rather than countries such as overwhelmingly white Norway, prompting accusations of racism and insensitivity. Trump said Democrats had misrepresented what he said during the meeting and, in the process, undermined the trust needed to make an immigration reform deal. Republican senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue gave different accounts of what was said in the meeting, initially saying they did not “recall” what the president had said. But in separate TV interviews Sunday, they outright denied that Trump had made the comments. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham appeared to challenge their accounts.

The African Union, a group representing the continent's countries, and African ambassadors to the United Nations, called on Trump to retract his statement and apologise. On Capitol Hill, Democrats and some Republicans denounced the remark as they attempted to reach a deal on immigration, which could be essential to avoid a government shutdown later this week.