The annual World Economic Forum meeting will take place this Friday (January 26), and conference attendees are planning to protest Trump’s recent racist comments about African countries by walking out of his speech. The planned walk-out is in response to the “shithole” remarks Trump made in an immigration meeting as reported by Senator Dick Durbin.
The boycott idea was introduced by Bonang Mohale, Business Leadership South Africa CEO, in letter written to the U.S. President that was posted on the company’s website. Conference-goers speculate that leaving as the speech is underway will have more impact than not showing up entirely. Similar to the protest by students and families during the Pence speech at the Notre Dame graduation ceremony.
African CEOs are only seeking apology and for Trump to admit that his words were inappropriate. “We’re only looking for that, just to apologize,” said Luvuyo Rani, CEO of a South African internet company. Rani calls Trump’s remarks “damaging” and isn’t sure if he will attend the speech at all.
Rani also stated that Trump’s remarks were unlikely to affect trade and investment agreements between the U.S. and South Africa, as the connections run deep: there is a close trade relationship and many South African students attend U.S. colleges and universities.
However, Rwandan president Kagame has scheduled a meeting with Trump to “reaffirm the US-Africa relationship and discuss shared priorities.”
Trump’s speech is scheduled for Friday afternoon, and regardless of how many people boycott or walk out, he will surely report the crowd as “huge.”