Trump's 'shithole' controversy hovers over Davos meeting

President Donald Trump arrived in Switzerland on Thursday, where he'll meet global players and heads of state two wee...

Posted: Jan 25, 2018 1:35 PM
Updated: Jan 25, 2018 1:35 PM

President Donald Trump arrived in Switzerland on Thursday, where he'll meet global players and heads of state two weeks after he reportedly used a vulgar word to describe African nations and Haiti.

Trump is set to meet with Rwanda's President Paul Kagame during the World Economic Forum in Davos, which draws A-listers and global leaders from the worlds of politics and business.

President Donald Trump will meet Rwanda's Paul Kagame at Davos

It's unclear whether he will meet other African leaders

Their meeting comes in the shadow of Trump's alleged description of African countries and Haiti as "shithole nations" during an immigration meeting with lawmakers this month. Trump later denied making the comments.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster confirmed that Trump will meet Kagame, according to CNN's Jake Tapper.

It's unclear whether Trump will meet other African leaders at Davos, but President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa are among the attendees.

Trump's comments set off a wave of diplomatic uproar from foreign leaders and their citizens, with Rwanda's foreign ministry describing them as "demeaning and unnecessary." South Africa, Haiti, Senegal, Ghana and several others summoned top US diplomats in their nations over the remarks.

In an open letter to Trump, Bonang Mohale, CEO of Business Leadership South Africa, urged others to make a statement during the annual gathering.

"Many of us will be boycotting your address to delegates at Davos in protest against your divisive comments and continued failure to unequivocally apologize," Mohale wrote. "We encourage likeminded peers to do the same."

Mohale said he hopes Trump's presence at Davos will spark a debate on inclusiveness, respect and tolerance.

"An alternative, in other words, to a world where walls, disparagement and hate dominate the discourse of the leader of the US," he said.

But not everyone was outraged by Trump's remarks. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was of a different opinion, describing Trump as honest and saying African nations only have themselves to blame for lagging behind.

"America has got one of the best presidents ever. Mr. Trump. I love Trump," Museveni said Tuesday.

"I love Trump because he talks to Africans frankly. I don't know if he's misquoted or whatever, but when he speaks I like him because he speaks frankly."

The first American president to visit Davos since Bill Clinton in 2000 will address delegates in a much anticipated speech Friday, and is expected to stick to his America First rhetoric.

"(This trip) is about an America First agenda but America First does mean working with the rest of the world," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

"It just means that President Trump is looking out for American workers and American interests -- no different than he expects other leaders to look out for their own."

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