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‘Let them know Africans do love Trump,’ insists a local cab driver

Columnist Neil Steinberg in a cab traveling from O'Hare Saturday night. | Neil Steinberg/Sun-Times

“Everyone here loves Trump,” said the friend I was staying with in North Carolina. “Even black people.”

How do you know? I thought but did not say — guestly manners, and I suppose the restraint that puts Democrats at a permanent disadvantage in our national tug-o-war.

I had barely seen a person, never mind a person of color, during my stay in this suburb of Raleigh. Lots of tall, straight southern pines — growing telephone poles is big here. Many old tobacco smoking sheds, little rough cabins preserved as a reminder of the rustic charm being pushed out by sprawl. But most people were hidden behind the tinted windows of wide-hipped Ford F-150 pick-ups.

OPINION

The government shut-down finally ended while I was away, the victory for the Dems ululated in the liberal media.

But the permanent opposition is having none of it. My friend said the re-opening is but a three-week strategic pause before Trump, the master tactician, presses his struggle anew. Friday, United Airlines sent an email urging me to consider slipping home early, ahead of Monday’s polar vortex, so I gratefully changed my flight and came into O’Hare to find the place oddly congested for Saturday night at 9 p.m.

I dialed American Taxi, with the relief felt when you spy your mother’s face at the kitchen window. I was practically home.

American Taxi let me down. Rather than briskly dispatch a taxi, an automated voice informed me they were short of cabs. It took my order, yes, and said they’d send a text. But no text came. The minutes dripped by like frozen molasses. Nor did more than a couple American Taxis pass in 20 minutes. Not promising.

I called them back, found a person, who reminded me there was a shortage of cabs. A few times, while I tried to pry out the key information I needed: would there be in the foreseeable future not only cabs available, but a particular cab available for me? And when might be? Eventually, I realized I was on my own. The government is being run by a egomaniacal fraud. Congress is seized up. And now, betrayed by American Taxi. It was as if they had snorted, “walk.”

Which is exactly what Uber told me to do, on its app. Head to Terminal Two. I was in One.  Instead, I walked to the city taxi stand and quickly found myself in the back of a Chicago cab.

“Going home to some p—-?” the cabbie greeted me. I was so taken aback, I replied, “Well, my wife baked cookies …” He sailed off from there, announcing that the government is now open, praise Trump.

I thought he was joking. But he wasn’t.

“All Africans love Trump,” he said in a warm lilt. “They hate Obama.”

Really? Why? He was an older gentleman, bearded, wrapped in a blanket.

“Trump is way better than Obama, honestly.” He mimicked a fussy whine: “‘Oh, we don’t like the way he says things, the way he talks to women,’ all that stuff. Who doesn’t? Every man says the same thing.”

I won’t relay the full 20 minutes. He was from Eritrea — Eritrea broke away from Ethiopia after decades of Marxist rebellion.

“American was long on Ethiopia’s side,” the cabbie said.

The war formally ended last June thanks, of course, to Trump.

“He realized there is no reason to be hostile with a small nation, he ended support for Ethiopia, and the war end right there.”

Of course, Donald Trump would be hard pressed to find Africa on a map, never mind Ethiopia, never mind the tiny new nation some call the “North Korea of Africa.”

What did Trump do to end the war?

“He realized that China is taking over Africa,” the cabbie said “Sometimes, not doing anything for Africa is help for Africa. … We don’t like Hillary. We don’t like Susan Rice.”

The Rwandan genocide.

“The reason Clinton didn’t do anything is because of Susan Rice.”

True. Clinton’s 29-year-old director of international organizations on the National Security Council,  who worked to curtail UN efforts to end the slaughter.

The cabbie knew his stuff, though I didn’t agree with his backhand to the media. (“Don’t act like detectives!” he commanded.) And I didn’t agree with his conclusion. But it isn’t as if there weren’t some basis in fact. I suppose there usually is.

“Let them know Africans do love Trump,” he said.

I said that I would.