A South African billionaire apologized for telling President Donald Trump Africa loves him during a summit in Davos, Switzerland, last week.
A clip captured by CSPAN of Patrice Motsepe heaping praise onto Trump during the World Economic Forum went viral, according to The Associated Press.
“Africa loves America. Africa loves you. It is very, very important,” he told Trump. “We want America to do well. We want you to do well. The success of America is the success of the rest of the world.”
Motsepe’s enthusiasm wasn’t returned by the president.
“You’ve done a great job, thank you very much,” Trump replied.
The comments drew ire from many Africans who insisted Motsepe didn’t speak for the whole continent.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a South African opposition party, said Motsepe’s comments were motivated by “selfish business interests” and criticized Trump’s treatment of Black Americans, reports BBC.
“Motsepe’s statement is an insult to the African-Americans who have been directly affected by Trump’s racism,” EFF said in a statement last week.
Motsepe released a statement on Tuesday to apologize for his actions, per The South African.
“This debate has exposed me to the views of Africans who disagreed with my remarks,” the statement began. “I have a duty to listen to these differing views and would like to apologize. I do not have the right to speak on behalf of anybody except myself.”
The billionaire went on to encourage Africans to embrace partnerships with people who have opposing views because “South Africa has to create in excess of 500 000 new jobs for the youth each year.”
“In order to do this and to provide skills and expertise and improve the living conditions and standards of living of millions of Africans, we will have to create partnerships and increase trade and investment ties between Africa and the US,” Motsepe continued.
He added, “Africa and America to a very large extent, share common values and principles and have greater mutual interest than the issues or policies on which they disagree or have different views. It is in the interest of South Africa and the rest of the African continent to build mutually beneficial socio-political, trade, investment and cultural ties with the US.”
Trump doesn’t have the best track record with the motherland.
During the Davos summit, Trump admitted he is considering adding new countries to the travel ban list. Several African countries, including Nigeria, Eritrea and Sudan may be added to the list.
“We’re adding a couple of countries to it,” Trump said. “You see what’s going on in the world. Our country has to be safe. So we have a very strong travel ban, and we’ll be adding a few countries to it.”
Then there’s the time he told congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Omar and her family left Somalia when she was a child. The other women were all American-born.
Not to mention he once asked why the United States wasn’t receiving immigrants from Norway instead of “shithole” countries in Africa.