It took a special occasion for journalist Anderson Cooper to bring back the "Ridiculist" segment on CNN — and that occasion was when the president of the United States "straight up made up" another country. After Trump slipped up during a United Nations lunch with African leaders by praising the health system in the non-existent nation of Nambia, Cooper roasted Trump for his Nambia mistake.
"Tonight, we're traveling to a magical land far, far away," Cooper began. "A place so special, it's almost like it doesn't exist..." The news anchor was referring to Trump's mispronouncing the southwest African country of Namibia as "Nambia" — perhaps some kind of confusing hybrid between Namibia and the neighboring country of Zambia. An official White House transcript of meeting clarified that Trump was referring to Namibia. Cooper, however, jokingly suggested that the name garbling was no slip of the tongue, but that Trump really thinks there's a place called Nambia.
"Maybe it's a combination of Namibia, which is a real place. ... It's lovely — I went there for Christmas one year — and Narnia, which is not, though I wish it were, and I would love to go there if I could only fit through that wardrobe," Cooper pondered out loud.
It's not the first time Trump flubbed the name of an African country. During his 2016 campaign, Trump mispronounced the name of Tanzania, an eastern African nation, during a major foreign policy speech.
"I guess if you're the president you can just say them however you want," Cooper later mused.
The news anchor went on to remind viewers that Trump was speaking to African leaders when he messed up the African country's name. U.S. national security adviser H.R. McMaster said the meeting was a working luncheon to discuss how the United States "can help African nations develop their economies, address urgent challenges, and strengthen security relationships and economic relationships between our nations." The president made his debut at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, and has been meeting with world leaders throughout the week.
Cooper advised Trump to stay off one of his favorite apps, Twitter, where #Nambia has been making the rounds. Then the TV host ended his "Ridiculist" segment by reading a few #Nambia tweets, such as this one:
Nambia is truly beautiful this time of year. Everyone should visit at least once in their lives. Just take Psilocybin to get there.
"And if I can learn how to pronounce Psilocybin for a friggin' 'Ridiculist,' I think the President of the United States can learn to pronounce the names of other countries," Cooper said mockingly. "Or at least the ones that exist."
To be fair, Trump's flub has also sent his tweeters quick to resurrect Obama's mispronunciation of Massachusetts as "Mass-a-too-setts" and the "57 states" Obama claimed to have visited during his 2008 campaign.
At the UN lunch in New York, Trump hosted the African leaders of Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Uganda. Trump described Africa as a continent with "tremendous business potential" and said he was interested in expanding American investment to create jobs in Africa.
Africa has tremendous business potential. I have so many friends going to your countries, trying to get rich. I congratulate you. They're spending a lot of money. It has a tremendous business potential and represents huge amounts of different markets. And for American firms it's really become a place that they have to go — that they want to go.
South Sudan has been in civil war since December 2013. More than 50,000 people have been killed and about 1.9 million people have become internal refugees because of the war. In D.R.C., where militant groups have terrorized residents of the politically unstable country, at least 2.7 million people have become internally displaced.
Trump said he would dispatch UN ambassador Nikki Haley to Africa to discuss possible resolutions and prevention to further conflict.