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Trump to African leaders: 'So many' of my friends are going to Africa 'to get rich'

CNN logo CNN 9/20/2017 By Dan Merica, CNN
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President Donald Trump congratulated a group of African leaders on Wednesday for the level of American investment in the continent, mentioning that he has "so many" friends who are "going to your countries trying to get rich."

The comment came during a luncheon on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Leaders from Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, South Africa and a host of other African nations attended the lunch.

"Africa has tremendous business potential," Trump said near the top of his speech. "I have so many friends going to your countries trying to get rich, I congratulate you. They are spending a lot of money. But it does, it has tremendous business potential."

Trump regularly mentions he and his friends' business ventures in speeches and that has not stopped at the United Nations.

In his first remarks at the United Nations on Monday, Trump's real estate venture was at the top of his mind.

"I actually saw great potential right across the street, to be honest with you," Trump said, referring to Trump World Tower building, a building right across the street from the UN complex.

© TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

The bulk of Trump's remarks on Wednesday focused on areas where the United States and African nations are working together, including North Korea.

"I want to discuss our partnership against a global challenge. Today the world faces an enormous security threat from North Korea regime," Trump said. "We must all stand together and be accountable in implementing United Nations sanctions and resolution in response to North Korea's hostile and menacing actions."

Trump did not, however, explicitly mention that some African nations, including those with leaders attending the luncheon, maintain ties with the rogue regime.

The threat from North Korea has loomed large over Trump's time at the United Nations, becoming a primary focus in the President's speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday and Vice President Mike Pence's remarks to the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday.

Trump touted the United States' work with African nations to fight terror, telling the leaders that he was "proud to work with you to eradicate terrorist safe havens, to cut off their finances and to discredit their depraved ideology, and a number of you have told me."

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