Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe appeared to use President Donald Trump’s apocalyptic speech at the United Nations on Tuesday to catch up on some sleep.
But when it was Mugabe’s turn to take to the podium on Thursday, the 93-year-old African leader proved he had been listening with a biblical retort to Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea.
Referring to Trump as a “giant gold Goliath,” Mugabe urged the U.S. leader to “blow your trumpet” in a way that promotes peace and the self-determination of countries, and not their extinction.
“Some of us were embarrassed if not frightened by what appeared to be the return of the biblical giant gold Goliath. Are we having a return of Goliath to our midst who threatens the extinction of other countries?” said Mugabe.
Goliath was a giant warrior who, according to the Bible, threatened Israel with destruction until he was slain by David using a slingshot.
“May I say to the United States President, Mr. Trump, please blow your trumpet. Blow your trumpet in a musical way towards the values of unity, peace, cooperation, togetherness, dialogue, which we have always stood for,” said the Zimbabwe leader.
Mugabe said that it was “upon those values” that each nation could “build its greatness,” including the United States, and said that Washington should emphasize such values rather than “the promise of our damnation.” Mugabe’s speech was watched by two U.S. diplomats, who remained expressionless.
Mugabe, who was a freedom fighter when Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain in 1980, has long been a fierce critic of Western intervention. He said later in his speech that Zimbabwe had defeated the “monster of imperialism” and that another monster “by whatever name” would suffer the same consequences.
He also criticized President Trump for announcing that the United States planned to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. Trump made the announcement in June, saying that the deal was unfair to the United States and would cost 6.5 million American jobs.
Following the U.S. president’s inauguration in May, Mugabe said he approved of Trump’s nationalist rhetoric. “When it comes to Donald Trump, on the one hand talking of American nationalism, well America for America, America for Americans—on that we agree. Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans,” said Mugabe in February.
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At 93, Mugabe is the world’s oldest head of state currently in office. He has been blighted by health problems in recent years and regularly travels to Singapore for medical treatment. But Mugabe has refused calls to step down and is the ruling party’s candidate for re-election at Zimbabwe’s next vote in 2018.
On his way up to the podium to address the General Assembly, Mugabe appeared to be struggling to walk unaided and held onto a chair for balance. His posture drew comments from observers on social media, who suggested that the nonagenarian leader was too old to continue in his post.
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