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South Africa to Lodge Formal Protest to Trump’s Derogatory Remarks

A protester holds a sign condemning President Trump's reported statement about immigrants from Haiti, Africa and El Salvador on January 12, 2018 in Miami, Florida.
A protester holds a sign condemning President Trump’s reported statement about immigrants from Haiti, Africa and El Salvador on January 12, 2018 in Miami, Florida.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s “shithole countries” remark continues to reverberate across Africa, one of areas included in his broad, derogatory characterization of countries spanning multiple continents that the president believes to be undesirable places for the U.S. to receive immigrants from. In Africa, a clear target of Trump’s remarks, the condemnations were immediate and the outrage clear. The government of Botswana issued a statement labelling the American president’s words “reprehensible and racist.” Senegal’s president replied that “Africa and the black race merit the respect and consideration of all.” A spokesman for the African Union, an assemblage of 55 member states on the continent, said “[g]iven the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behavior and practice.” South Africa’s government, however, indicated over the weekend that it will go one step farther in registering its anger by lodging a formal protest with the American Embassy in Pretoria Monday.

“[South Africa] will provide an opportunity to the Charges de Affaires to explain the statement that African countries, alongside Haiti and El Salvador, constitute ‘shitholes’ from where migrants into the United States are undesirable,” the government said in a statement.
“South Africa aligns itself with the statements issued by the African Union and the Africa group of Ambassadors to the United Nations in New York. Africa is united in its affirmation of the dignity of the people of Africa and the African diaspora.”

The State Department said diplomats in South Africa, Ghana, Botswana, and Senegal had been summoned by their host governments to explain Trump’s remarks; the diplomatic wing of the Trump administration expects more diplomats to be summoned this week. In response, CNN reports, “State Department officials said diplomats have been advised not to try to interpret or soften the President’s remarks but rather to listen and acknowledge the countries’ concerns.”

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