December 6, 2022

Kellyanne Conway just met with African leaders to do “shithole” damage control and it went terribly

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The Trump scandal cycle moves at such an accelerated rate that many of his most heinous comments and blunders are quickly forgotten as the public scrambles to deal with the newest emerging incident.


With his party’s attacks on the FBI escalating in recent days, media coverage has already moved on from the deeply offensive comments the president made earlier this month when he called Haiti, El Salvador, and the entire continent of Africa “shitholes.” He also lamented that the United States wasn’t courting more immigrants from Norway (which is largely white).

The comments were widely and correctly condemned as overtly racist. It’s the kind of thing that would have sank the administration of any of his predecessors, but somehow a different standard gets applied to Donald Trump. The bar is so low and it just keeps sinking lower.

Now, it appears that Kellyanne Conway — one of the president’s preferred public liars — was sent to pile insult on top of insult. Foreign Policy reports that the former campaign manager turned mendacious mouthpiece was sent to meet with African ambassadors yesterday, ostensibly to smooth over the fallout from the “shithole” comments. 

Instead of attempting to mend the wounds, Conway chose instead to brag about the president’s “accomplishments” from his first year in office and chatted about his State of the Union address. Apparently, some attendees were surprised and confused that she chose to boast rather than discuss Africa as expected.

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One source told Foreign Policy that the meeting was still generally positive because someone from the Trump team “actually met” with them, a clear indication that many African nations feel ignored, if not outright hated by Trump.

The disturbing revelations come on the tail of news that African leaders considered officially demanding an apology from President Trump when they gathered for a summit in Ethiopia this week.

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The Associated Press obtained a draft of the letter in which the attendees wrote that Trump’s comment “defies all forms of diplomatic etiquette,” and that the nations are “deeply appalled” by it. It also makes references to Trump’s “racist and xenophobic behavior.”

Apparently, the African nations scuttled their letter after Trump made cursory overtures of reconciliation by sending a letter espousing “deep respect” for Africa and promising to send Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to visit the continent in March.

One can’t help but wish they had followed through and sent the letter, as it would have been exactly the kind of rebuke the president deserves after making such disgusting statements. There’s no excuse for his behavior, and he should be should be held accountable for it.

Robert Haffey

Robert Haffey is a political writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.

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