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The Donald Trump that Africans are unaware of

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The first thought that comes to some Africans’ minds when the 45th President of the United States of America, USA, Donald J Trump is mentioned is that he dislikes Africans, which is completely false.

And the false notion that President Trump despises Africans stems from false information spread by his political opponents in the media and attributed to him, such as “Africa is a shithole country.”

Although the statement is fundamentally flawed, most people who believe and thus dislike President Trump have not bothered to critically identify and examine the flaw.

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That is why emotions appear to have clouded their judgment and they have swallowed the falsehood hook, line, and sinker.

As we all know, Africa is a continent made up of 54 countries, not just one.
So, how could President Trump have said, as his traducers claim, “Africa is a shithole country”?

Because most Africans failed to critically scrutinize the comment because they were eager to believe all of the vile things that the so-called Never Trumps had to say, the flaw or illogic of referring to Africa as a shithole country, when it is, in fact, a continent, was unfortunately lost on some of them.

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Those hell-bent on causing friction between Africans and the 45th President of the United States appear to have done a ‘good’ job, as most people of the black race have remained trapped in that mind-bending spell that I intend to break with this intervention.

Hopefully, by debunking myths about how Mr Trump truly feels about Africans and what he has done to elevate Black Americans and those residing on the continent during his presidency of the United States, there will be a rethinking and resetting of the Africa/Trump relationship, positioning the continent to benefit more from Mr Trump’s presidency of the United States if he returns to the White House in 2024, as he plans.

Not only because Nigeria has the world’s largest black population or because it has the largest economy in Africa by GDP, but also because of my personal experience as a Nigerian who has met President Trump one-on-one, I would like to use Nigeria as a reference point for assessing the Trump-Africa relationship, which appears to be currently foggy due to calculated misinformation.

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To put things in context, remember that during Mr Trump’s first two years in office, he hosted Nigerian President Mohammadu Buhari and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, both of whom are prominent African leaders.
That, in my opinion, reflects a keen interest in the continent rather than disdain for Africa, as some detractors have attempted to portray the former US president’s attitude toward Africa.

In addition, and very importantly for Nigerians, it should not be forgotten that it was during Mr Trump’s presidency that the US agreed to sell to Nigeria critical military hardware such as super Tucano jets and other military armaments that were required to combat the terrorists who were gaining the upper hand in our country’s northern regions.

It is worth noting that, for far too long, Nigeria was denied access to the necessary military hardware to combat terrorism due to the Leahy Doctrine, which prohibits the sale of US military hardware to countries deemed to lack the discipline not to use it indiscriminately.

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That ambiguous situation compelled Nigeria, under President Goodluck Jonathan’s watch, to attempt to obtain arms and ammunition from the black market, resulting in a private jet from Nigeria carrying cash being intercepted in South Africa, resulting in a scandal that portrayed Nigeria negatively.

Isn’t it striking and heartening that it was under Mr Trump’s presidency of the United States that Nigeria was allowed to legitimately acquire the attack aircrafts that have today proven to be extremely useful in the prosecution of Nigeria’s war against terrorists?

There are more positive actions taken by President Trump to support Nigeria and indeed Africa during his four (4) year reign, but for the time being, it is in light of the foregoing that I would like to implore and urge Africans to evaluate Mr Trump based on what he did for the continent as the 45th President of the United States from 2016 to 2020, which is legion, rather than what he is alleged to have said about Africans via pranks planted in the mass media by his political opponents.

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The preceding admonition is bolstered by my belief that, as the 45th President of the United States, Mr Donald Trump prepares to return as the 47th President in 2024, it is high time that we all got to the brass tacks about the real Donald Trump that Africans don’t know, so that we can all work out a more positive way to relate to him.

And I am convinced that if Mr. Donald Trump returns to the White House one more time to finish the good work that he began in 2016 before being derailed by the devastating COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged the world and particularly resulted in the untimely loss of over one million American lives, which is largely responsible for his failure to be re-elected, Africa and Africans will receive more than a passing interest, especially now that he is beginning to understand

And I’d like to start the journey of discovery or excursion into who Mr Trump essentially is in terms of his relationship with Africans with my personal experience when I first met the great American president and indeed one of the most consequential world leaders of all time who has been largely misunderstood by those who do not know him.

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We met for the first time at the Trump Golf Course in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA.

And the first thing he said to me when I was introduced to him as a Nigerian friend by my friend Dr Massad Boulos was, “Your country has a lot of oil under the soil.”
And I responded affirmatively on the spur of the moment.

His comment, in my opinion, indicates that he easily identifies opportunities wherever they may exist, and it reflects the fertile mind of Mr Trump.

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It also reflects the fact that former US President Trump has set high standards for himself and others, namely that all opportunities should be maximized for the benefit of all.

President Trump is likely irritated that with the amount of oil under Nigerian soil, the citizens have no business being poor and no reason to be migrating in droves to other countries, particularly via risky routes that often end in the death of a multitude of Africans in the Sahara desert or the Mediterranean Sea as they try to illegally enter European countries, the US, and other wealthy North American countries to eke out a living as refugees.

It is perhaps Mr Trump’s perspicuity that causes some Africans to misunderstand him because, based on the sympathetic look I saw on his face when we first met, the 45th President of the United States and accomplished business titan, is disappointed that despite Nigeria’s huge oil reserves (6th largest crude oil producer in OPEC) and abundant human resources (over 200 million people, 60% of whom are youths), the country’s leaders have failed to capitalize on th

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Which wealth creator and person often associated with progress and success, such as ex-President Trump, would not be outraged by the leaders and people of a country like Nigeria, which has abundant natural and human resources but is stuck at the bottom rung of socioeconomic development?

Mr Trump’s feelings of empathy and sympathy for Nigerians and Africans may be justified in light of the circumstances described above.

However, mischief-makers’ ignorance has led to Mr Trump’s capitalist disposition or stimuli being misinterpreted as racism.

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In addition, Mr. Trump’s belief that the African continent is punching below its weight is validated by the latest National Bureau of Statistics,NBS survey report, which revealed that 63% of Nigerians, or 133 million (133m), live in poverty.

Given that an estimated four (4) of every African and five (5) black people of African origin are Nigerians, one can extrapolate the level of poverty in Africa and what might be driving what appears to uninformed observers conclusion about Mr Trump’s palpable impatience with failure, which has been misinterpreted as racist attitude by some of my compatriots in Africa and blacks in the diaspora.

As opposed to the orthodox approach of so-called prim and proper manners that technocrats in Washington DC, which Mr Trump refers to as the swamp, prefer, the hopeful 47th president of the United States speaks straight from the heart, demonstrating his profound mind with progress, success, and prosperity as the fulcrum.

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And it is through that lens that the actions and attitude of Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States (2016-2020), towards lazy or unproductive people, regardless of skin color (black, brown, or white), should be viewed.

My reality is that, far from being a racist, as Mr Trump has been portrayed by some Africans, he prefers to see and associate with success in all humans worldwide.
And he condemns failures equally, whether they occur in the United States, Europe, Africa, or Asia, among Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, or Buddhists.

To put it succinctly, Mr. Donald Trump simply cannot stand failure, so under his watch he resisted the influx into the US of those he labeled as dredges of society, accusing them of being rapists, murderers, and criminals of all hues, as well as illegal immigrants, for which those he denounced labeled him a racist.

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Certainly,Trump is not referring to nation builders such as Wally Adeyemo, the US deputy Treasury Secretary, and the eight (8) legislators-Adeoye Owolewa, Carol Kazeem, Esther Agbaje, and Gabe Okoye, as well as Solomon Adesanya, Phil Olaleye, and Tish Naghise-all of whom are of Nigerian origin and who recently won their contests into legislative positions in the US during the

However, given the preponderance of failures amongst Africans on the continent as a result of prolonged colonization and forceful extraction of her rich natural resources in the past, and the current neo-colonialist practices against Africans on the continent on the one hand, coupled with the systemic injustice perpetrated against blacks in the US over the past several millennia,till date;there is a high tendency to believe that Trump is anti-black.

Mr Trump held a naturalization ceremony in the White House for immigrants, including black and brown people, in August 2020, as a reflection of his openness to welcoming immigrants, as opposed to being a racist.

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Although a symbolic gesture, it demonstrates that Mr Trump welcomes those who can be productive and wish to immigrate to the US through proper immigration processes.

As a capitalist, Mr Trump may be unable to stomach or accommodate Africans’ indolence and poor leadership defined by corruption, which unfortunately is the hallmark of African governments, resulting in Africans migrating to the US and other climes where the grass is believed to be greener, leading to resentment from citizens of the host countries where the migrating Africans seek refuge.

Recent xenophobic attacks against other Africans in South Africa and Ghana, particularly against Nigerians, are a good point of reference.

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But if this happened in the United States or Europe, it would be labeled as racism, right?
The truth is that most people, regardless of race or creed, are xenophobic or racist toward people they don’t know or understand.

Consider how Ghana repatriated Nigerians in 1969 and Nigeria expelled Ghanaians in 1983–a phenomenon dubbed “Ghana must go.”

In what appears to be poetic justice, and tit for tat, Ghana recently sent Nigerians seeking greener pastures in their country packing for the third time.

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All of these atrocities against Africans could have been classified as racism in Europe or the United States.
However, because it occurred within Africa between fellow Africans, it is referred to as xenophobia.

The goal here is that by assisting Mr. Trump in better understanding Africa, and vice versa for Africans, the US under Trump’s leadership in 2024 will assist Africa in becoming better.

My second takeaway from meeting former US President Donald Trump is that he wants to be associated with people who are hardworking and goal-oriented.
That character trait is evident in his television game show ‘The Apprentice,’ where he would tell an intern pitching to him but lacking the necessary energy and idea, “you are fired.”

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Mr Trump, in my opinion, has a fetish for seeking out the best in people.
If at all possible, he would like all members of the human race to be free of poverty and misery.

Based on the preceding premise, it is not surprising that he expects, and possibly demands, high performance from his children.
As a result, it is not surprising that he has high expectations of his sons and daughters-in-law, who are legally his adopted sons and daughters.

In that regard, typical of his competitive nature, the former president did not hesitate to extract from me character testimony on Micheal, his new son-in-law.

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He was impressed that I traveled all the way from Nigeria/Africa to attend the wedding and inquired about Micheal’s character and work ethic.

Having seen Micheal at work on numerous occasions while he was in Nigeria, I confirmed to the bride’s father that Micheal had demonstrated leadership qualities as a teenager.

To say the least, that independent validation from me must have lifted Mr Trump’s spirits regarding Michael’s marriage to his daughter Tiffany.

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Following that, the unvarnished respect and priority that he accords hard work and the ability to get ahead in life by focusing on goals and targets, values that in my opinion reign supreme in Mr Trump’s universe, were on display during the banquet as he extolled Tiffany for her hardworking attributes or characteristics, having evolved from her childhood into adulthood after passing through Duke university law school.
And he credited Tiffany’s mother, Marla Maples, with imbuing Tiffany with character and chutzpah.

So much about my newly formed opinion about Mr Trump based on personal experience, which I hope will help Africans better understand one of the world’s most influential leaders.

As I have also learned, as President of the United States between 2016 and 2020, Mr Trump positively influenced the lives of blacks in the United States, but the majority of his good deeds went unnoticed.

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For example, how many people are aware that, under President Trump’s watch, a groundbreaking justice reform policy was implemented to give blacks more breathing room?
President Trump signed the First Step Act in December 2018.
The law is widely regarded as “the most significant changes in a generation” to “tough on crime” legislation that has increased the federal prison population by 700 percent since 1970.

To address the thirsty and strained relationship between police and citizens, particularly blacks, President Trump signed an executive order promoting police training and the establishment of a national database to track police misconduct.
As a result of the foregoing, it is believed that crime rates in the United States have decreased.

During President Trump’s tenure, he also provided funding to historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), which had previously been underfunded by the government.

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He also established Opportunity Zones with the goal of empowering blacks by increasing job and employment opportunities in their communities.
As a result, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, black unemployment and poverty rates are thought to have been at an all-time low of 5.9% in 2018.

Another example of poverty reduction in black and brown communities attributed to Mr. Trump’s policy is the removal of an estimated seven (7) million people from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Significantly, President Trump unveiled his “Platinum Plan” for black Americans just before leaving office, which includes designating the infamous KuKlux Klan, KKk, and ANTIFA as terrorist organizations.

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It also proposes making lynching a hate crime, increasing investments in black communities, promoting black homeownership, and declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday.

Although some may argue that some of the lofty ideas in former President Trump’s development agenda for blacks were not far-reaching enough, it is undeniable that some of the policies were implemented and had a significant impact on the lives of people in low-income communities, as previously stated.

Mr Trump now has a better understanding of Africa as a result of the wedding and our interactions.

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As a result, if he is elected as the 47th President of the United States next year, he will be better guided and equipped with knowledge about Africa, particularly Nigeria.

From this vantage point, I would like to request readers’ indulgence in recalling Mr Jared Kushner, the Jewish American husband of Ivanka, (Mr Trump’s daughter), in the deft management of the frosty relationship between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East, which thawed during Mr Trump’s presidency.

As President Trump’s advisor, Kushner assisted Trump in packaging US-Middle East policy, resulting in the lbrahimic Accord, which has facilitated interaction between the United Arab Emirates,UAE, and Israel, resulting in the resumption of air travel between the two countries and Isreali High Technology firms locating and operating in the Jebel Ali port and industrial zone.

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Such beneficial development can be replicated in Africa if Mr Trump is elected as the 47th President of the United States next year.

Perhaps as a result of his inclination toward evangelicals in the United States, it is on record that African Pentecostal faith leaders and evangelists were given the most opportunities to interact with their American counterparts during President Trump’s presidency.

So, under proper scrutiny and after putting President Trump’s policies and programs through the crucible, it would be clear that he significantly positively impacted the lives of blacks in the United States and Africans on the continent.

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However, he is wrongly labeled as racist because he has not made efforts to correct the wrong impression by cataloguing or arraying his policies and programs aimed at assisting blacks and Africans.

It is trite to say that if President Trump returns to the White House next year, Africa will benefit from his reincarnation because he will finish what he started.

Finally, I’d like to say to all Africans and African Americans who believe President Trump is a racist: let me be your mirror.

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Given how warmly I was welcomed and accepted by President Trump, it is clear to me that he has no personal vendetta against dynamic and progressive Africans.
However, he is offended by indolence and laziness, whether displayed by white, brown, or black people.

And my honest assessment is that it reflects the fact that Mr Trump is a capitalist who despises seeing people who have opportunities to become wealthy and self-sufficient wallowing in poverty and relying on government assistance to survive.

As a result of the foregoing, it should be clear that Mr Trump’s capitalist instincts are being misconstrued as racist tendencies.

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And I hope that this energizing account of my personal encounters with him will change such negative perceptions.

To emphasize, Mr. Trump is a member of the capitalist tribe, which, as we all know, is the best system for organizing a society for inclusive prosperity.

And the above assertion is supported by the fact that capitalism, defined as an economic system in which private sectors own and control property in accordance with their interests, and demand and supply freely set prices in markets in a way that serves the best interests of society, has been shown to be the rational self-interest that can lead to economic prosperity.

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If asked to summarize my impression of President Trump, I would draw on the wisdom of the Chinese philosopher Confucius, as I believe his quote below captures the driving principle or motivation in everything he does:

“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the desire to reach your full potential… these are the keys to personal excellence.”

As I have come to know Mr. Trump better, I hope that blacks in the United States and Africans on the continent will come to understand him as a race-neutral leader who is deeply committed to the progress and development of all humankind, and who has zero tolerance for laggards who fail to push themselves hard enough to succeed.

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Magnus Onyibe, an entrepreneur, public policy analyst, author, development strategist, alumnus of Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and a former commissioner in Delta state government, sent this piece from Lagos.
Please visit www.magnum.ng to continue this discussion.

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