African leaders were very close to officially demanding US President Donald Trump publicly apologize for reportedly crude remarks about the continent and immigration, but backed off, reports say.
The African Union drafted its response to the president at a summit this week. The draft warned that Trump's “racist and xenophobic behaviour” puts the strategic partnership between the United States and Africa at risk.
It says African heads of state are “appalled” by the Trump's apparent remarks and “dismayed and shocked by the increasingly consistent trend from the Trump administration to denigrate people of African descent and other people of colour.”
But the African Union decided not to release the draft. It pointed to a January 25 letter from Trump in which he pledged his “deep respect” for Africa and announced that secretary of state Rex Tillerson will make an “extended visit” to Africa in March.
Trump also met with Rwandan President Paul Kagame on the sidelines of the Davos economic forum last week. Kagame is the current chair of the African Union. He says the AU will have to find a way to get along with Trump.
“When the United States decided to give us Trump as their president, we will deal with that president,” Kagame said.
Trump reportedly called Africa, Haiti, and El Salvador “shithole countries” during a White House meeting on immigration earlier this month, and wanted to exclude Haiti from any immigration reform deal.
He denied using such crude language.