South Africa and the entire world just celebrated what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday and former President Obama traveled to Zimbabwe and South Africa to honor the late, great leader who ended apartheid. But the Trump State Department refused to provide him any assistance, an enormously petty and childish breach of longstanding protocol.
The Mandela 100 commemoration became a mini battlefield in the ongoing US political war this week, as the Trump administration ordered that Barack Obama not be given any assistance other than security arrangements by the American embassy in South Africa.
The high-profile visit by the former president was mainly arranged and coordinated by the Nelson Mandela and Obama foundations, with no assistance from the US embassy in Pretoria – a break from the diplomatic tradition of offering support to any visiting American leader.None of the US embassy staff had to play any role due to “instructions by Washington” that Obama should not be provided any assistance, according to a highly placed source.
In the past, the US embassy has always provided full support to any visiting American leader regardless of party affiliation.
Of course they have. Foreign visits by former presidents are always coordinated through the State Department for a host of reasons. But Trump is such a child that he refused to follow that longstanding protocol. If he could have stripped him of Secret Service protection, I have no doubt he would have done that too. Thank goodness he can’t do that because Secret Service protection for ex-presidents is required by law, not just tradition and custom. This country is being led by a toddler. A very dangerous toddler.