Dozens of ex-US envoys to Africa urge Trump to reconsider

Dozens of former U.S. ambassadors to African countries have written to President Donald Trump expressing "deep concern" over his comments about the continent and warning that respectful engagement is crucial to protecting American interests.

The letter to Trump is signed by 78 former envoys including a former assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield. The letter dated Tuesday asks the president to "reassess" his views on the 54-nation continent, which it calls blessed with "almost unparalleled natural resources" and deep historical ties.

Trump has denied referring to African nations as "shithole countries" last week in dismissing a bipartisan immigration bill, but others who were present have said he used that language.

The African Union continental body and several African nations have expressed shock and condemnation over Trump's remark.