The president’s decision to end the ban on Americans bringing elephant trophies back from Africa continued his trend of trying to undo the presidential legacy of Barack Obama. But there’s a real good chance that’s not the only reason Donald Trump wanted to allow hunters to return to the U.S. with the wildlife game they’ve killed in Zimbabwe and Zambia.
In fact, Trump just told us about a couple of months ago why he and his friends have so much interest in Africa: to get paid.
“Africa has tremendous business potential,” the billionaire told a group of African leaders in September. “I’ve so many friends going to your countries, trying to get rich.”
He continued: “For American firms it’s really become a place that they have to go — that they want to go.”
To be clear, the Trump administration made no mention of generating additional wealth when announcing its decision. But the man who has touted himself as a master dealmaker likely has some ulterior motives for ending the ban.
“Legal, well-regulated sport hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit the conservation of certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve the species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a brief statement.
The topic American wildlife hunters in Africa came to a head when Walter James Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, shot and killed Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe in 2015. Zimbabwe officials said at the time that the hunt wasn’t legal, sparking an international scandal.
Hunters spend on average tens of thousands of dollars for a safari that would allow them to track and kill wildlife that they can make a profit from selling afterward.
But beyond that, Trump, ever the family man, probably also took the opportunity to, pardon the pun, kill two birds with one stone: Lest we forget, his sons have a history of participating in a pastime that the International Fund for Animal Welfare says 9 out of 10 Americans do not support.