US President Donald Trump referred to a Kurdish journalist as “Mr. Kurd” during a Wednesday press conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
While taking questions, a deadpan Trump called on Kurdistan TV reporter Rahim Rashidi, saying: “Yes, please. Mr. Kurd, go ahead.”
Unfazed, Rashidi proceeded to ask Trump about US-Kurdish relations in the post-Islamic State era in Iraq and Syria.
Trump told Rashidi the US gave considerable assistance to the Kurds, and asserted that thousands had died fighting the jihadist group in recent years.
“We’re trying to get along very well, we do get along great with the Kurds. We’re trying to help them a lot,” he told Rashidi.
“Don’t forget, that’s their territory. We have to help them,” he said. “I want to help them.”
— Rahim Rashidi (@rahimrashidi) September 27, 2018
Rashidi later identified himself on Twitter, and said he was “very proud” to be called “Mr. Kurd.”
He thanked Trump for “recognizing Kurdistan’s contribution in fight against ISIS.”
Rashidi also told New York Times reporter Michael Grynbaum that he “loved” the incident, saying that Trump “made me happy by this sentence.”
The US president addressed a number of topics during the press conference, including the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation battle, but it was his reference to Rashidi that garnered the most attention on social media.
As the hashtag #MrKurd began to trend on Twitter, fellow Kurds were thrilled the incident drew attention to the ethnic minority.
I'm in no way offended by @realDonaldTrump or anyone calling me Mr. Kurd. I think he called me and a colleague that today. I'm proud to be a Kurd. I actually take it as a compliment if you call me Mr. Kurd. #MrKurd
— Majeed Gly (@MajeedGly) September 26, 2018
I thought I should tweet this about @realDonaldTrump’s “Mr. Kurd” comment. There is an outcry on social media as if Trump was being disrespectful. He was not! I am #Kurdish and Mr. Kurd is my colleague. Kurdishness is an identity most Kurds are openly proud of. #MrKurd
— Namo Abdulla (@namo_abdulla) September 26, 2018
— Zinar Shino (@ZNARSH) September 26, 2018