When Will President Weah Meet President Trump?

29
6322
President Weah's first visit off the African continent was to his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, breaking an age-old tradition of first preference to the United States by a new Liberian president.

Nigeria’s Buhari Meet Trump today in Washington, D.C.

Since the popular election of President George Weah, it has been the hope of many Liberians that he would have followed the tradition of the country’s previous leaders to place themselves in good stead with the country’s traditional friend, the United States of America. But President Weah broke the tradition and instead visited France upon his elections and met with President Emmanuel Macron.

Then it was said that he made such a move because when he was a struggling footballer, it was France that welcomed him and made him what he would eventually turn out to become, President of Liberia. Though the United States, through its Ambassador accredited to Monrovia has since pledged to work with the current government, it has been the wish of many Liberians that President Weah would have since traveled to the United States to meet US President Donald Trump and other officials including members of congress.

“Without Europe George Manneh Weah would not be standing here delivering this inaugural address as the 24th President of the Republic of Liberia. It was my success in European football that enabled me to give back to my beloved country. Europe will always have a special place in my heart, and, as President, I intend to strengthen my relationship with the European community for the benefit of all Liberians.”

Earlier in the same speech, he expressed gratitude to Europe for assisting Liberia meet its post-war recovery.

“To the EUROPEAN UNION, I say thanks to you for your strong partnership with Liberia. European aid has provided critical support for Liberia’s recovery from war, and this continuous support will be important as we forge a new path of transformation.

The United States of America and Liberia have a longstanding historical relationship. At least eight (8) of its former presidents were born in the United States of America. Its capital, Monrovia was named after U.S. President James Monroe and so are many of its cities or towns which are named after places in the United States. Moreover the United States has been Liberia’s largest source of donor support over the years. It can be recalled that relations between Liberia and the U.S became strained in the wake of the 1980 military coup that toppled the civilian government of President Tolbert and the public executions that followed.

The then ruling Peoples Redemption Council was quick to dispatch a good-will delegation to the United States to repair the sour relationship. Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was named by the Junta as a member of that delegation. Fast forward to 2018, since his election, President Weah has made a number of official foreign visits to countries including France, where he made his first official visit, followed by visits to Ghana, Morocco and Nigeria but, so far, the United States remains off the lists of countries the Liberian President is expected to visit in the next few months.

This development, according to diplomats in Monrovia, is unusual and is leading to wild speculations that President Weah may have some unresolved issues with U.S. authorities which may be reasons belying his tilt towards France rather than towards the United States. There are speculations however, that President Weah’s seeming reluctance to visit the United States may be attributed in part to the child support case involving one Ms Meapeh Gono, the mother of the child allegedly fathered by President Weah, and in the other part to that of the criminal case involving a James Bestman currently serving a jail sentence on drug trafficking and money laundering charges.

Bestman was arrested at his Maryland home in a sting operation mounted by Federal authorities following extensive surveillance of his movement and activities. He was charged for drug trafficking and money laundering. It was reported at the time by the FrontPage Africa newspaper that President Weah who was at the time visiting Bestman was reportedly questioned by FBI agents but was subsequently released. But presidential candidate, at the time, George Weah denied any involvement in drug trafficking and money laundering.

He also denied that he had been arrested by the FBI at Bestman’s Maryland home. “What happened there was I was on my way to Minnesota to the (CDC U.S. members’) convention, and I decided to pass to James (because) he should have been one of those who were trying to watch (attend) the convention. When I pulled into the driveway, Mr. James came down the stairs and I saw two officers that served him a warrant that he needed to come with them,” And then, I asked the guy (officer). I said what happened? He said he didn’t know. All he knows is that it is a federal case and he has a warrant for James. And then, we laughed about it, and I told him that I must have come at the wrong time. There will be no way in this America, this law abiding country, that it will arrest somebody for drug business and let them go. Is there any dispensation for me to be caught in a drug raid and they will let me go like that?”

On the child support issue, it can be recalled that Presidential spokesperson, Sam Mannah, at the time reacting to a May 11 2016, Daily Observer story that a court in New York had issued an arrest warrant for Weah in the child support case said “This is a calculated propaganda trying to diminish our political momentum. “As a father to many children, many of whom are not his biological children, Ambassador Weah enjoys his role as a parent and will do nothing to deny a child of the care and comfort needed from his or her parents.”

More recently a lawsuit filed by Reverend Torli Krua against former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Thomas Woewiyu and President George Weah has further complicated the case and such developments, until sorted out through backdoor diplomatic channels could prove to be the chief stumbling block to any contemplated official visit to the United States.

And so, while President Weah is making trips, and perhaps being not so keenly aware of the important role the relationship with the United States could afford him, other countries are taking the lead. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is to meet President Donald Trump in Washington on, today, Monday, the first African leader to be received by Trump’s White House administration, and according to an Associated Press report, all eyes will be on Trump after he earlier called African nations “shithole” countries, a damaging remark he has since denied.

Trump’s relationship with the continent suffered a further setback in March when former secretary of state Rex Tillerson was fired while in Nigeria on his first trip to the continent. As a result, the visit revealed little about Trump’s Africa policy. Buhari’s visit comes after Trump met German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday and French President Emmanuel Macron last week to discuss the contentious Iran nuclear deal and biting trade sanctions.

According to a White House statement, the talks will focus on fighting terrorism and insecurity, economic growth and democratic development in Nigeria, set to hold presidential polls in February next year. “I think both sides have a clear agenda in this meeting and its security and economic issues. They both have something to gain,” J. Peter Pham, director of the Africa Center at the Washington-based Atlantic Council, told AFP. “On President Trump’s side, it’s definitely putting that controversy behind him,” Pham said. “On President Buhari’s side, it’s having the prominence of being the first African leader received at the White House in this administration.”

In spite of Trump’s remarks, Nigeria’s relationship with the United States has improved since he came into office, according to Lauren Blanchard, African affairs specialist with the Congressional Research Service. “(The visit) is intended to signal that the United States continues to see Nigeria as one of its most important partners on the continent,” Blanchard said. “Cooperation has improved over the course of President Buhari’s tenure, but not as fast as both sides would like,” she added.

Buhari, who like Trump has a tendency to make gaffes, had lambasted former President Barack Obama shortly after coming into the office for refusing to sell weapons to Nigeria to fight Boko Haram. “Unwittingly, and I dare say unintentionally, the application of the Leahy Law Amendment by the United States government has aided and abetted the Boko Haram terrorists,” Buhari said during a visit to Washington. Under the legislation, the US is prevented from offering weapons or training to countries where there is credible information of human rights abuses by authorities.

In contrast, Trump’s administration has gone ahead with the reported US$496 million sale of up to a dozen Super Tucano aircraft, a plane with surveillance and attack capabilities, set to be delivered in 2020. The deal has recently come under scrutiny in Nigeria, a country with endemic corruption, where lawmakers are accusing the president of illegally withdrawing funds to purchase the planes. While no major trade announcements are expected, Trump and Buhari will also be talking about ways to deepen economic cooperation.

On the Liberian front

On the Liberian front, US officials may be watching events as they develop in the country to be convinced that the choice made by majority Liberians is the right one. But many Liberians are convinced that Liberia’s future and the government’s pro-poor agenda could move faster once the United States’ leaders understand the direction the country is going.

Since he came to power, President Weah has traveled to several countries, including Senegal, Morocco, France, Ghana, Nigeria, Congo, and Ethiopia, but he should remember that the United States is the country’s largest contributor of funds and resources, that has survived the country for more than a century. President Weah, many Liberians say, cannot overlook the special relationship that has existed between the United States and Liberia and therefore,while globe-trotting and shadow-boxing around, he must set the agenda for his visit to the United States.

The Executive Mansion has remained silent on why President Weah is yet to visit with US officials, but many Liberians told the Daily Observer that his visit to meet President Trump to seek economic and other cooperation and assistance cannot be oversized in the wake of his policy that is gaining momentum, but needs hard cash to implement.

Authors

29 COMMENTS

  1. Donald Trump just does not meet any African Leader. His staff has told him that although Liberia is the 4th poorest and darkest country in the world, its Senators and Representatives make more money than US Senators and Representatives. Therefore, being a smart businessman and a strong protector of American Dollars and principles, Trump does not want to see Weah- the President of a country that uses US dollars and pays each Senator about $500,000 US dollars per year while people are dying. Why do you think Weah is going all over the world begging for Money? America is about to pull the US dollars off the Liberian market.

    • Why should he? Liberians are so tied up in this colonized mentality that even when Trump insults us we rushing to kiss his feet. The question should be when will Weah tend to the development of Liberia? Is Trump the god that we have to bow down to? Why do Liberians seem to be stuck in this colonial mentality? Do you see the President of South Africa running to England to kiss the Queen’s ring? do you see the Ghana president running to America? Liberians, 170 years and we still think like slaves.

      • Kona; however you/we look at it, both South Africa and Ghana belong to the British Commonwealth; headed of course by Great Britain. Why so? There are benefits. By the way, Zimbabwe; after Mugabe is about to rejoin “The British Commonwealth. Where is Guinea Today? Right in the French Community. Going at it alone, means we have to compete. Are we capable? You tell me.

    • MG; Hi! Liberia’s Senators and Representatives making $500,000/year? I think the truth is a bit overstretched here. No doubt! Liberia’s Legislators are paid much too high. However, let’s stick to facts; not fictions…

  2. We Liberians, shouldn’t despise the demand of life, if we do, we will find ourselves at the bottom of the pit, always begging, and not given. Other great nations of today was worst of than we are. It took years of perseverance to get them where they are. As I always voice it: not how many times one falls, is how often he/she gets up, dust up, and get going.

    To my dear brother, uncle Mr. F. Hney… Since you raised the White Flag, you have remained in the CENTER. That very nice. At least other commentators can follow your style. When other people are calling me foreigner, you are the only one that come to my aid. I’ve been called all sorts of names: nomadic, cattle herder, Muslim intruder etc. They are prosecuting me for the crime I didn’t commit. I didn’t tell my father to leave from Guinea, come to Liberia, marry my mother and born me. Per their argument, Barack Hussein Obama wouldn’t have been president of the USA. The late slain journalist, Charles Gbenyon (father from Togo, born in Liberia), Kwame Clement (father from Ghana, born in Liberia), and Moni Kaptan ( former Liberian foreign minister, Syrian father, born in Liberia ), would ‘Liberians’ ask them to get back home?

    My only advise to them is to educate themselves. That’s the only way they can give back significantly to Liberia. Liberian Taxpayers money have helped pushed them up to some level in society.

    From Sydney, with love for all

  3. International Relations and diplomacy is characterized by mutuality and cooperation.

    The case of Liberia United States relations will not be any different. We ought to be aware of President Trump Executive Order on DECEMBER 21, 2017
    New Executive Order Implements Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act,
    Provides for Treasury Sanctions Against Malign Actors Worldwide

    What has been Liberia’s position as regards such leaders as per the TRC report?

    Perhaps when President Weah has a policy perspective a meeting with President Trump may be possible.

    ttps://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm0243

  4. Who cares if Trump meets Whea? He don’t like black ppl!! What should be the focus is if Weah is going abroad to promote Liberia and their interests… I hope he’s not begging!!…as one of the commentators stated education is the best way to give back to Liberia…. healthcare…. electricity…a million other things…. and Europe did not make Weah president…LIBERIANS DID!….unless……?

    • Doc; Liberia’s relations is with greater United States; D. J. Trump is not the whole U.S. It’s more complex than you perhaps imagine. The U.S, has a CONGRESS that decides on MATTERS pertaining to AFRICA; needless to say Liberia. That’s what more important

  5. There is no reason why President Weah should not meet President Trump, it’s just the matter of time and the delay should not also be considered as President Weah being afraid of meeting American officials. After all, there is always time to meet and discuss issues with America – so let’s drop the crap talk against Liberia.

    Rest assured, President Weah will meet US President, only when the timing is right. Let’s pray for Liberia’s success.

  6. Weah and his national security staff must do all that’s possible to improve relations with the Trump government. I am not certain as to whether Johnson-Sirleaf caused any problems with the US while she was president. If she did, this is an opportune time for relations between the two countries to be improved. Weah has the ability to patch things up. Weah will be unable to succeed without getting alone well with a traditional ally like the US.

    The Chinese are very active in Liberia. That’s good. But, most development projects that the Chinese undertake are connected to loans. The aid from the US is a little different. There are differences of opinion on this issue. Some Liberians don’t give a hoot as it relates to how much money we owe. As long as the projects are effectively done, it’s all good, that’s what we are told. On the other hand, some Liberians feel that borrowing too much money will stifle economic growth. Whatever the case, I think that the US should not be ignored. We cannot afford to do it all by our Chinese friends without looking elsewhere for assistance. That’s not being dependent. That’s being smart.

    • F. Hney; thanks! Yes Indeed, I second that motion. “President Weah and all his top officials and his national security staff must do all that is possible to improve relations with The U.S and The Trump Government”. I’m certain, Lady Sirleaf didn’t cause any problems with the USA. Infact, she was more interested in strengthening and maintaining Liberia’s “Good Relations” with The U.S. We can only hope, President Weah WILL keep-up that momentum; in the best interest of Liberia.

  7. No surprise if U.S. President Trump does not  invite President Weah to Washington, D.C. right away. 

    England and France was the first two countries to officially recognized Liberian independence in 1848. A year later the follow countries followed suite and recognized Liberia: Portugal, Brazil, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway,and Haiti. After 15 long years of independence before the United States recognized Liberia independence in 1862.

     

    • And yet we still think that they will save us when they give us few dollars. 14 years of war while we die and they watch and Liberians still think we should jump when they say jump

      • Hi Mo; the problem at the time was SLAVERY. At the time of Liberia’s so called INDEPENDENT, blacks and whites in The U.S Were not on equal terms. It would have been impossible for The U.S to have a Black Ambassador in D.C. That band was lifted only after The Slaves were set freed under The Administration of Abraham Lincoln. *Just a reminder Doc; at the time of Liberia’s so called independent, Indigenous/Native Liberians were not considered citizens in the land of their birth-Liberia. It was not until 1904, during The Administration of Arthur Barclay, when Indigenous/Native Liberians were recognized as CITIZENS.Even that, Native Liberians were NOT allowed to vote until 1964. How about that?

  8. Bah,
    I am terribly sorry to hear that you’ve been called names that your parents did not assign to you. Frankly, I am not aware of a post where profanities have been heaped on you. If you could, tell me in your response where you’ve been accused. Trust me, I will go directly to your accusers in order to calm things down. We are in the court of public opinion. As such, there is a likelihood that respondents or commenters will sometimes disagree with our viewpoints. But, when a commenter crosses the line of decency, that individual must be told to cool off.

    You are a bona fide Liberian.

  9. Why should he? Liberians are so tied up in this colonized mentality that even when Trump insults us we rushing to kiss his feet. The question should be when will Weah tend to the development of Liberia? Is Trump the god that we have to bow down to? Why do Liberians seem to be stuck in this colonial mentality? Do you see the President of South Africa running to England to kiss the Queen’s ring? do you see the Ghana president running to America? Liberians, 170 years and we still think like slaves.

    • Kona; Donald Trump may be President of the USA. However, D.J Trump is not the whole USA. Liberia as a Nation, has a relationship with greater U.S; not just President Trump. Yes! Indeed, Liberia needs and deserves U.S’ assistance. It’s not SLAVERY as I understand.

  10. How did Trump insult you? Can you not say that Liberia is not a shithole country as Trump asserts? How much US and other foreign dollars have come through with very little effort on any Liberian’s part. Only those in line for the DSA (Country Reps, MOH big shots driving NGO vehicles) and other graft kickbacks were apprised of those dollars. So if the US pulls their charity dollars, let Liberia end up as it would. Ungrateful! Just because you weren’t standing in the right line Kona? If Liberia were in some colonial mentality, they would recognize the true freedoms that they have and rise from the ashes of their own making. Clean up the housing, the schools and the graft.

  11. BACK TO THE SOIL MY PEOPLE WE CAN DO BETTER IF ANYBODY WHO IS NOT WORKING OR GOING TO SCHOOL SHOULD GO BACK TO HIS OR HER COUNTY TO IMPROVE THEIR VILLAGES AND TOWNS .

  12. Why is it that the first priority agenda of any Liberian president should be a foreign agenda – trips to foreign countries, meeting and shaking hands with foreign leaders, and begging for aid, loans, and other material and/or personnel help? Yes, keeping touch with regional, continental, and international partners is important but why should it be priority number one?

    Besides the whirlwind political campaigns around the country for the general elections, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf never made any serious attempts to tour the fifteen (15) counties and connect with the Liberian people “in situ” and get a real heart-to-heart conversation with the citizens and their pressing needs in their own locals. Instead, every now and then she was in the air with a large entourage traveling around the world. It seems like our new president is taking after his immediate predecessor and even beating her to the game. In less than three months since his inauguration, he has already made numerous travels, with large entourage, around certain parts of the world. Within the same period of time he has not step foot out of Monrovia and the Robertsfield Highway.

    Now our journalists are all into the fray of being anxious about when will the president lead another entourage to meet with the head of state of the United States of America, perhaps, to shake hands with him and have a niece photo-ups while smiling. They are not asking the president when is he going to meet with the paramount chiefs and the superintendents of the country or when will he visit Grand Kru or Bomi Counties?
    We have a lot of wealth in the Republic. When are we going to sit down and start seriously talking about how to adequately harness the wealth for the betterment of all political subdivisions and people of the country?

    • C.A; Very well. I’m certain. It’s on President Weah’s AGENDA. Before the end of his term, The President will visit every County in Liberia. We can also hope, President Weah will speed up the “DECENTRALIZATION PROCESS”. As we’ve heard many times, “Liberia is not JUST Monrovia”. Yes! Indeed you are right. Every President of Liberia should HAVE a Nation Wide meeting with all Counties’ Superintendents at least once every year; to discuss matters of interest to Liberia; especially so, “DEVELOPMENT MATTERS”. A President should compare notes with his/her Counties’ Superintendents.

  13. Yes Indeed! Liberia’s President, George M.Weah will travel to Washington soon; to meet U.S. President D.J. Trumpn; now that Nigeria’s President is the first “Sub Sahara African President” to do so. Believe it or not, it’s a matter of PROTOCOL.That’s exactly how it’s arranged; to the delights of Nigeria and perhaps”The USA”. In today’s World, when it comes to United States relations to Sub Sahara Africa, Nigeria’s leaders very much like/prefer to be given the top honor. No matter who’s Liberia’s President, it’s to Liberia’s best interest to maintain “VERY GOOD” relations with The USA. Liberia has a bond to The USA; that can not/should not be broken. Today’s Liberia is an American Idea. Before it became Liberia, that region of Africa was a cluster of Tribal Chiefdoms; with each tribal group calling their segment a separate country. In my opinion and perhaps some others, Liberia would be far better off today if we had stay on COURSE with The USA. No other Nation have done more for Liberia; than the United States Of America. Let’s make it a top priority, to maintain and strengthen our relations with “The USA”.

  14. I think Weah is not in good relationship with the American President, Trump. For President Weah to travel to the United States is of something that all Liberians are yet to see.
    As we all know that there has been a cordial relationship between Liberia and the United States since then, but only the administration of the current president whereas he directing the country Wheel to France.
    We as Liberian are yet to see our president making trip to the United States to meet the great persident, Donald Trump to discuss issues that will bring great development to our country, Mama Liberia.

  15. well there is nowhere like home so no matter where we go we will still return to our mother land.
    A child may run from her parents but the love of the parents will never go with that child but stay with them that will make them to run after the child.why are we worry your home is your home,where you go to visit is the home of your friends

  16. Comment:President George M. Weah have a divine backing from the Almighty God and if any one thinks that he would make it they are lying and the Lord God Almighty will put them to shame in Jesus Christ mighty name. The Lord God would sit there and show his own fail, the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY will step into this matter and shout the mouths of those quick talkers and bring joy to us Liberians. THIS LONE STAR STATE HEADED BY H.E PRESIDENT GEORGE WOULD FAIL IN JESUS CHRIST MIGHTY NAME.

  17. Base upon my ideology and analysis every president has his own will of dealing with things mostly when it comes to ruling his country and its people because he is liable of the outcome of his administration.

    Notwithstanding, while he has his way and will in his administration, and is hole accountable of the outcome, it is also aspected of a good leader to seek the interest of the people he leads or rules especially in a Democratic form of government.
    As a leader you should observe the place where the people you succeeded fall short and ratify those mystics in your administration.
    What I am bringing to the attention of president Weah,is he must reread the Liberians history and he will get to know what made Liberians to be sons and daughters to America.
    Despite been sons and daughters ,every country on this continent Africa has its god father that is to say their overseas counterpart from origin.
    For instance :Ivory coast,Guinea, Burkina Faso, is France, Nigeria, Ghana is British etc..so Liberia too is America.
    Therefore to come to conclusion President Weah seems not to put the country first as he alway preached but seeking his interest. further more if you Scrutinize his actions as relate to the accusation again him you would understand that he may one way or the other affiliated with the crime but if it is so why can’t he explain himself before the court.
    Get me right I am not judge to give ruling this is my opinion.

  18. Comment:Everyone have a reason for what they do,President Trump know what he is doing,like wise President Weah.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here