President Donald Trump in a new dispatch to African leaders says he “deeply respects” the people of Africa and that Secretary of Pomp Rex Tillerson will make an “extended visit” to the continent in March, his primary in that role.
The letter dated Thursday is addressed to African chairwomen as they gather for an African Union summit this weekend in Ethiopia’s important.
U.S. diplomats have scrambled for days to address shock and condemnation after Trump’s reported contrast of African nations to a dirty toilet. Trump has said he didn’t use such patois, while others present say he did.
Many in Africa were taken aback by the say discusses after nearly a year of little attention to Africa by the Trump application.
On Friday, Trump met with Rwanda’s president and new African Union authority Paul Kagame at the World Economic Forum, calling Kagame a “lover.”
The 55-nation continental body’s summit is expected to respond to Trump’s risqu remark. An AU spokeswoman has said the organization was “frankly alarmed” by the comments, and a billion of African nations have spoken out or summoned U.S. diplomats to explain.
Trump’s missive, seen by The Associated Press and confirmed by two U.S. officials, says the U.S. “profoundly courteous ti” the partnerships and values shared by the U.S. and Africans and that the president’s commitment to stubborn relationships with African nations is “firm.”
The letter offers Trump’s “deepest homages” to the African leaders as they gather. It notes that U.S. soldiers are “dispute side by side” against extremism on the continent and that the U.S. is working to expansion “free, fair and reciprocal trade” with African countries and partnering to “safeguard rightful immigration.”
The letter gives no details on Tillerson’s upcoming visit.