Fareed Zakaria: Trump Complimenting ‘Beautiful’ Nigeria Is 'Exaggeration'

April 30, 2018

CNN host Fareed Zakaria said President Donald Trump went too far complimenting Nigeria’s natural beauty during a White House visit by the country's president Monday.

In a joint appearance with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Trump demurred when asked about his alleged denigration of countries in Africa and Latin America. Reports that he asked why so many immigrants to the U.S. come from "sh**hole countries" drew outrage in January, but Trump said Monday he wanted to visit Nigeria because he had heard it is as beautiful as any country in the world.

Zakaria said this must be an exaggeration since no one has ever told him Nigeria is particularly beautiful.

"I have to confess, people have said many things about Nigeria over the years that I've been following international affairs — I don't think anyone has said that," Zakaria said.

Zakaria said South Africa or Botswana, perhaps, receive that kind of praise. He said he doubts Trump actually believes Nigeria is that beautiful.

"That was one of those classic Donald Trump — shall we call it — exaggerations," Zakaria said.

Trump complimented Nigeria’s natural beauty when a reporter asked him about the possibility of visiting.

"I would like very much to visit Nigeria. It is an amazing country," Trump said. "In certain ways, I hear from the standpoint of the beauty of a country — there's no country more beautiful."

Like many in the media, Zakaria had previously decried Trump’s "sh**hole" comment. Zakaria himself had, earlier this year, described Nigeria specifically as a "pretty screwed-up country" in discussing Trump’s comment, although he did not opine about the country's natural beauty.

Nigeria is home to vast topographical variety that includes mountains, savannas, a rainforest in the South, and the Niger Delta, one of the largest river deltas on earth.