by Kasey Clay on 10/11/2017
The island nation of Nauru has formally banned President Trump from stepping foot on its shores, making it the first country to do so. The ban is in retaliation to an incident that took place in July, when US officials walked out on a deal with Australia to resettle refugees from a detention center in Nauru. Officials left the country two weeks ahead of schedule, claiming the US had reached its intake cap.
“Donald Trump is not permitted to enter our country. We will not entertain the visit of a President who does not uphold his end of a deal made with allies,” said President Baron Waqa. The ban extends beyond Trump’s tenure as President of the United States and applies to all current and future members of the Trump family, including those not yet born.
This isn’t the first time the island country has barred someone from entering. In fact, the 8.1 square mile country has made a habit of banning those it disagrees with – Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Joseph Kony to name a few. The country jokingly banned Justin Bieber for failing to know the lyrics to “Despacito”, a hit Spanish song on which Bieber is featured.
Many believe the ban is symbolic, considering a U.S. President has never made a trip to the country. The only time a U.S. President has even met with a Nauruan official was in 1989, when President George H. Bush sat down with President Hammer DeRoburt.
The nation of Nauru is comprised of 169 villages, the largest of which has only 1,800 residents. With a population of just over 10,000, it’s rarely on any world leader’s radar. The exception being its neighbor Australia, who pays Nauru to house its unwanted refugees.
While Nauru has historically been dubbed “Pleasant Island”, it’s no paradise. The once prosperous island’s economy collapsed when its phosphate mines ran dry. In addition to having an unemployment rate of 90%, the country has the world’s highest rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes. More than 40% of the population is affected by the disease.
There are rumors that Tuvalu, an island nation of 11,000 and a close ally of Nauru, is considering a similar ban against the Trump administration. “We haven’t made an official decision about whether Tuvalu will ban President Trump, but Nauru is a close ally and we support their decision to do so,” said Tuvaluan President Enele Sosene Sopoaga.
The Trump administration has yet to make an official statement regarding the ban.