During a joint press conference Monday between President Trump and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari — the first African president Trump has hosted at the White House — a reporter asked about that crass epithet Trump reportedly used to describe African countries.
In January, reports surfaced that Trump asked a room of lawmakers in the Oval Office why the United States is “having all these people from shithole countries come here,” referring to African countries and Haiti.
On Monday, as Buhari and Trump addressed the press at the White House, an American reporter had a question for Buhari.
“President Buhari, I want to ask you — you’re the first leader from Sub-Saharan Africa to visit President Trump here at the White House. Did you address his reported comments from earlier this year when he reportedly used vulgar language to describe African nations?”
After a moment’s pause, Buhari answered.
“Well, um, I’m very careful what the press says about other than myself,” the Nigerian leader said. “I’m not sure about, you know, the validity or whether that allegation against the president is true or not. So the best thing is for me to keep quiet.”
Trump then jumped in to address the issue, as Buhari seemed to laugh nervously.
“We didn’t discuss it,” Trump said. “You do have some countries that are in very bad shape and very tough places to live in, but we didn’t discuss it because the president knows me and he knows where I’m coming from, and I appreciate that. We didn’t discuss it.”
The Nigerian president’s visit Monday follows an uncomfortable start to the Trump administration’s approach to the world’s second most populous continent.
Trump caused anger in Nigeria last year after reports that he said Nigerians wouldn’t want to return to their ‘‘huts’’ if allowed to visit the US.
Nigeria was also among the African nations that summoned the US ambassador to explain Trump’s comments comparing Africa to a filthy toilet.
- By Jaclyn Reiss, Globe Staff, April 30, 2018