Donald Trump's first meaningful interaction with leaders of African nations came in September, when the American president spoke at a United Nations luncheon. Reading from a prepared text, Trump boasted about U.S. health partnerships in Africa, boasting, "Nambia's health system is increasingly self-sufficient."
The problem, of course, is that there's no such country as Nambia. There's a Zambia, a Gambia, and a Namibia, but no Nambia.
At the same event, the Republican strayed from his prepared text to tell the African leaders, "I have so many friends going to your countries, trying to get rich. I congratulate you." Given the attendees' familiarity with colonialism, they didn't seem especially impressed by an American billionaire with a troubled history on race boasting about his friends trying to enrich themselves in Africa.
Four months later, I think it's safe to say, in the wake of Trump's "shithole countries" comments, his standing among Africans is vastly worse. NBC News reported:
In addition to Ghana, the government of Botswana said Trump's language is "reprehensible and racist," and said it has summoned the U.S. ambassador to clarify what he meant.
Senegal's president, Macky Sall, said in a statement that it was "shocked" and that "Africa and the black race merit the respect and consideration of all." His West African nation has long been lauded by the U.S. as an example of a stable democracy on the continent.
The African Union, which is made up of 55 member states, also took issue with Trump's remarks. "Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behavior and practice," said spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo.
"The African Union Mission wishes to express its infuriation, disappointment and outrage over the unfortunate comment made by Mr. Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, which remarks dishonor the celebrated American creed and respect for diversity and human dignity," the African Union mission to the United States said in its statement.