The trigger for this fusillade is - has always been - Barack Obama. The Fox News item that Trump quoted had a clip of Obama and President Cyril Ramaphosa in a jovial mood at the Nelson Mandela lecture in Johannesburg last month.

Obama's speech, his first of consequence since leaving office, was seen as a denunciation of Trumpism, without mentioning his successor by name.

He gave a ringing endorsement of a free press - which Trump has dubbed the enemy of the people - as the bedrock of any democracy, and slammed the "utter loss of shame among political leaders when they're caught in a lie and they just double down and lie some more" - an allusion to Trump's predilection for falsehoods. "People just make stuff up," Obama said to raucous laughter.

Donald Trump, mired in scandals that could upend his presidency and increasingly running out of friends abroad, this week trained his guns on SA - a soft target - zeroing in on our vulnerabilities to deflect attention from his problems at home. As far as duels go, this would be a Goliath vs David encounter. We wouldn't stand a chance. The cards are heavily stacked against us. We shouldn't even try to go toe-to-toe with him. He'd eat us for breakfast. To say so is not being cowardly or unpatriotic, simply realistic. Those beating their chests and calling for war are talking through their hats. That's not bravery. It's rank stupidity. This is a time for cool heads, not foolishly shouting from the rooftops. But why has Trump decided to dip his dirty toe in our murky affairs? The answer is: because he can. In fact, even before becoming president, as an ordinary businessman, he had shown morbid interest in the country, variously describing it as a mess, crime-infested, going the same way...

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