A career intelligence analyst who is an expert in hostage policy stood before President Donald Trump in the Oval Office last fall to brief him on the impending release of a family long held in Pakistan under uncertain circumstances.

It was her first time meeting the president, and when she was done briefing, he had a question for her.

“Where are you from?” the president asked, according to two officials with direct knowledge of the exchange.

New York, she replied.

Trump was unsatisfied and asked again, the officials said. Referring to the president’s hometown, she offered that she, too, was from Manhattan. But that’s not what the president was after.

He wanted to know where “your people” are from, according to the officials, who spoke off the record due to the nature of the internal discussions.

After the analyst revealed that her parents are Korean, Trump turned to an adviser in the room and seemed to suggest her ethnicity should determine her career path, asking why the “pretty Korean lady” isn’t negotiating with North Korea on his administration’s behalf, the officials said.

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The exchange was disclosed to NBC News amid backlash from reports that Trump used the phrase “shithole countries” in referring to African nations and questioned why the U.S. should allow in more people from Haiti — reviving charges he’s racist.

Although the White House did not initially deny the remark, Trump on Friday claimed he had not made the disparaging comments during a Thursday meeting on immigration with lawmakers. The president tweeted that he did not say anything derogatory about Haitians and never said “take them out.”

However, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat who who was present at the meeting, confirmed the “vile” phrase was used “repeatedly” when Trump was referring to Africa.

A source close to the president told NBC News “he frequently uses that kind of language,” and added that those around Trump frequently tell him he should not.

The officials who told NBC News of the fall exchange between Trump and the intelligence briefer in the Oval Office in the fall said the president likely meant no harm with his inquiry, but it raised concern of a lack of cultural sensitivity and decorum.

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The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment about it.

NBC News did not interview the briefer for this story. This article withholds her name and agency to protect her privacy.

Trump has long been accused by his political rivals of promoting racist attitudes that fueled clashes at some of his campaign rallies in 2016 and emboldened white supremacist groups that viewed Trump’s general election win as an opportunity for empowerment.

For years, he suggested that former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. During the campaign, he suggested that some Mexican immigrants are “rapists” and “bringing crime” across the border and vowed to deport “bad hombres” from the U.S.

Image: FILE: Omarosa Manigault Newman Resigns from White House Role


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