The Nelson Mandela Foundation has responded in a strongly-worded statement to the claims made by former attorney Michael Cohen on what President Donald Trump thought of the revered former South African leader.

The Foundation said on Monday that it did believe President Trump is one who could “offer authoritative commentary on the life and work” of Mandela who died in 2013.

The statement also recommended to the US leader, a quote it attributes to Mandela: “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.”

In a new book titled Disloyal: A Memoir, Cohen, a former attorney and ally of Trump, made staggering accusations against the president including that the president once said Nelson Mandela “was no leader”.

While the world mourned Mandela’s death in 2013, Trump allegedly said in a conversation where Cohen was present: “Mandela f**ked the whole country (South Africa) up. Now it’s a sh*thole. F**k Mandela. He was no leader.”

According to Cohen, the castigation of Mandela was not personal for Trump but rather symptomatic of his animosity towards Black and/or African leadership, generally.

“Tell me one country run by a black person that isn’t a sh*thole…They are all complete f**king toilets,” Trump is quoted to have said in 2008 after Barack Obama became America’s first Black president.

However, in response to Cohen’s upcoming book, White House Spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany attacked the credibility of Cohen, calling him “a disgraced felon and disbarred lawyer, who lied to Congress” who will “attempt to profit off of lies.”

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