The statue of Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings. Picture: MOELETSI MABE/THE TIMES
The statue of Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings. Picture: MOELETSI MABE/THE TIMES

The Nelson Mandela Foundation has criticised reported remarks by US President Donald Trump that denigrated the late former president.

The Washington Post reported on Sunday that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and personal fixer, alleged in a new book that the US president did not think Mandela was a real leader and that SA had deteriorated under his rule. The Post said Trump also praised the country’s apartheid-era rule.

“We do not believe that leaders who conduct themselves in the way Mr Trump does are in a position to offer authoritative commentary on the life and work” of Mandela, the foundation said in a statement on its website.

Cohen, who was an intimate witness to Trump’s business dealings, has fallen out with the president since pleading guilty in 2018 to financial fraud and lying to Congress.

The Post obtained a copy of Cohen’s book, Disloyal: A Memoir, in advance of its publication on Tuesday. Trump’s spokesperson issued a blanket denial of the book at the weekend.

Mandela was president from 1994 to 1999. He died in 2013.

In its statement, the foundation cited a quote by the former president on leadership: “A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.”

“We would recommend these words to Mr Trump for consideration,” the foundation said.

Bloomberg 

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