Once again insensitive comments attributed to President Donald Trump have inflamed the world. According to The Washington Post, Trump is reported to have asked, “Why are we having these people from shithole countries come here?”
As an African immigrant, and as many people did, I found Trump’s comments to be racist and insulting, but I was not surprised at all. His attitude toward minorities and women has always been rude, crude and ignorant.
Trump has denied making the racist comments, but his denials are undermined by his past history of making racist remarks against minorities and his reputation as a devoted liar.
Trump’s words sparked a strong rebuke from the African Union (AU), a docile committee of 54 African member countries, a first-known such rebuke from the AU directed at a US President. In their rebuke, the AU demanded an apology and retraction from Trump – they won’t get either because Trump lacks the common decency to do the right thing, an attribute that comes naturally in most people and leaders.
I do not need an apology or retraction from Trump. He has shown himself over and over as incapable of such simple acts of common decency. Besides, an apology from Trump at this point, would be insincere and sarcastic and therefore meaningless.
Instead of wasting time demanding useless apologies, I would like to shed light to the negative national security and economic impact Trump is having on America’s global standing.
By antagonizing the entire African continent, Trump has undermined the relationship between US and Africa and negatively impacted US national security, as African countries could be reluctant to cooperate with US in the war against terrorism.
If that happens, it could expose American troops in places such as the horn of Africa to attacks by groups such as Al-Shabaab in Somalia. Al-Shabaab and other Al-Qaida sub-groups and factions in the region are currently weakened and on the run because of help from Kenya and Ethiopia.
Africa is also home to some of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Trump’s insult to Africa hands China a golden opportunity to capitalize on its $60 billion investment in the continent. Trump sees “shitholes” in Africa and drools about having immigrants from Norway.
Meanwhile, China sees the opportunity and understands the growing entrepreneurial skills of Africans and infrastructural needs required to satisfy future demands and potential. Chinese companies are partnering with African nations to build roads, bridges and stadiums and investing heavily in development and technology.
African trading blocs such as East African Community, South African Development Community, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and Economic Community of West African States, who represent more than half of African nations in mineral and natural-resource-rich countries, are now looking beyond the United States.
They are seeking trading partnerships with China and European countries. This is bad news for America because it shrinks our global influence and transfers the advantage to the Chinese, who are signing long-term agreements that would shut American companies out of African prosperity for many years to come.
Africans love America. Before Trump’s election, Africans looked-up to America as a symbol of freedom, compassion, democracy and prosperity. Within one year, Trump has trashed the image crafted carefully since 1776 and replaced it with a dark mask of mean.
America is better than this.
It’s time for Americans to rein in Trump. He does not represent American values. He represents extremist values that seek to divide and pit black against white, rich against poor. We should never allow ourselves to be divided into little hegemonies of ignorance, pettiness and prejudice.
Both Democrats and Republicans must hold Trump accountable. Republican leaders in particular must muster the courage to censure him and bring back respectability to the White House and the country.
Maurice O. Ndole of Fresno is a journalist at coolsimba.com. He is an immigrant from Kenya and a U.S. citizen. Connect with him at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter, @mauricendole.