A few months ago, during a meeting in the Oval Office, President Trump was frustrated with the protection of immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries and asked, "Why are all these people from the Shithole countries coming here?
The African Union condemned the remark at that time. On Monday, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was the first of his members to visit Trump's White House.
"Did you address his reported comments from the beginning of the year when he allegedly used vulgar expressions to describe African countries?" Jordan Fabian of The Hill asked Buhari during a joint press conference.
Buhari's answer showed a possible effect of Trump's "Fake News" refrain.
"Well," Buhari began, "I'm very careful with what the press says about others than myself. I'm not sure about, do you know, the validity or whether this assertion against the president was true or So it's best for me to stay quiet. "
If he really doubts that Trump made the statement, partly in relation to African countries, then Buhari may be one of the few. Even the White House did not dispute the Washington Post's report on the January commentary.
Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Who attended the meeting, told reporters, "I can not believe that in the history of the White House in this Oval Office, a president has ever spoken the words that we have personally spoken of ours Speakers have heard yesterday. "
Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (RS.C.), another participant, also seemed to confirm Trump's remark when he said in a statement that "I said my piece directly to him after the President's comments."
Trump's media booster in general He accepted the Post's report, but defended the President's comment as the kind of unvarnished rhetoric that made him vote.
Later, however, Trump denied saying the word.
Josh Dawsey of the Post later reported that there was disagreement within the White House about whether Trump has said "Shithole" or "Shithouse" , The latter is perhaps no less offensive, but would make Trump's denial technically correct.
Maybe Buhari believes Trump's denial. In this case, it is possible that Trump successfully convinced world leaders that US media is often counterfeit.
More likely, Buhari did not pay for a confrontation.
"Security is the main problem," he said during a photo session before a private meeting with Trump. "We are very grateful to the United States for agreeing to give us the aircraft we were asking for – the replacement parts – we are even more thankful for the physical presence of the US military."
Between the photo shoot and the press conference had Buhari exactly 84 minutes with Trump. Why should you spend something on a topic that could off-the-peg a meeting? Trump's predisposition to denials is so strong that he could not help but look in during the press conference, though he was not asked to comment.
"We did not talk about it," Trump said. "And you have some countries that are in very bad shape and very difficult places to live in. But we did not talk about it because the President knows me, and he knows where I come from and I appreciate that, we do not have it spoken. "
Had Buhari gone there, maybe Trump would have spent precious time for the meeting. Instead, Buhari smiled at Trump's face, questioning the "validity" of reporting.
Trump has tried to team up with other world leaders about "Fake News". Just last week, French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to the congress, denouncing "Fake News," which could be interpreted as an overture to Trump, who, according to Macron, deserves "the fair copyright for this term."
Buhari may be the newest head of state to spot a shot at the media is one way to get Trump's good side.