President Obama is on his way to Africa for a three-country tour that will focus on trade, investment and democracy promotion.
George Condon, National Journal’s White House reporter, joined The Daily Rundown Wednesday, and noted that this Africa trip is different than trips from previous presidents.
Condon explained that President Clinton spent his tour of Africa apologizing for not doing more in Rwanda while President George W. Bush focused on aid. But Obama plans to focus on issues of trade and economic partnership on his second visit to the continent as president.
“This trip isn’t so much about aid or how terrible things are on the continent,” said Condon. “We’re in a battle with China over trade and investment in a marketplace of 1.3 billion people. It is much more a sense of what we deal with other countries on. ”
As Nelson Mandela’s health remains in critical condition, Condon explained that Obama must be flexible and respectful of the situation.
“The main thing that you do is you show respect,” said Condon. “Clearly he is in his final days. If there is a funeral to deal with, you adjust your schedule.”
Obama is not currently scheduled to visit the anti-apartheid leader during his time in South Africa. The White House has said it defers to Mandela’s family to determine if a hospital visit is appropriate.