NBC News released a letter in which Donald Trump ostensibly sought to seek a conciliatory tone with leaders of various African nations, following his appalling comments that the United States does not need or want immigrant from “shithole countries.”
Our president isn’t notorious for self-reflection or humility, so it’s pretty safe to assume the letter was in effort to mitigate awkwardness ahead of an African Union summit in Ethiopia. Prior to the summit, it was expected that African leaders would speak openly and at length about Trump’s recent comments — which he continues to deny having made in the first place.
The letter was sent ahead of an African Union summit in Ethiopia, which was set to take place this weekend. NBC News reported that Trump’s letter included that he “deeply respects” the people of Africa, and that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will make an “extended visit” to the continent in March. Trump’s letter also states that he wishes for “strong and respectful relationships” with the continent’s nations.
The president also offered “best wishes for a successful summit” and added that U.S. and African troops are “fighting side by side to defeat terrorists and build secure communities, and that the United States is working to increase “free, fair and reciprocal trade” with African countries and partnering to “safeguard legal immigration.”
All of this comes just months after four U.S. servicemen were killed in after being ambushed by militants while on patrol in Niger. The incident prompted a military investigation and questions in Congress about the future of U.S. involvement in the region.
The tragic attack in Niger, of course, was the one in which Sgt. La David Johnson lost his life. Trump’s call to Johnson’s widow resulted in just one of many scandals during his first year in office.