President Donald Trump referred to a Kurdish reporter as “Mr. Kurd” when answering a question from the press during a United Nations press conference in New York City.
The President asked the reporter if he was Kurdish before answering his question — calling the Kurds “great people, great fighters” before calling on a second Kurdish reporter by saying, “Yes please, Mr. Kurd.”
“We have to help them. These are great people,” the President added.
While many online were appalled by President Trump’s casual nickname for the reporter, “Mr. Kurd” himself seemed unbothered by it, The Washington Times detailed.
The man that President Trump called on was Rahim Rashidi of Kurdistan 24, a Kurdish news broadcaster.
Rashidi then asked the president about the United States’ relationship with the Kurdish people and about how Iran — whose President decried the Trump administration in a speech earlier in the week — influences the region.
Later, Rashidi tweeted that he was “#MrKurd & very proud.”
“Thanks Mr. @POTUS for recognizing Kurdistan’s contribution in fight against ISIS,” Rashidi wrote in his tweet.
When asked by New York Times reporter Michael M. Grynbaum about the incident, Rashidi told him “I love it!” in response to Trump having calling him “Mr. Kurd.”
“He made me happy by this sentence,” Rashidi told the reporter.
— Rahim Rashidi (@rahimrashidi) September 27, 2018
.@realDonaldTrump calls Kurdistan 24’s Rahim Rashidi “Mr. Kurd.”
— Kurdistan 24 English (@K24English) September 26, 2018
I just spoke with “Mr. Kurd.”
His name is Rahim Rashidi, he works for Kurdistan TV, and he is thrilled.
“I love it!” he said of Trump. “He made me happy by this sentence.”
— Michael M. Grynbaum (@grynbaum) September 26, 2018
Majeed Gly, the first Kurdish reporter the President spoke with, also had no issue with the President Trump’s “Mr. Kurd” nickname.
Gly later tweeted “I’m in no way offended by @realDonaldTrump or anyone calling me Mr. Kurd,” he wrote. “I’m proud to be a Kurd. I actually take it was a compliment if you call me Mr. Kurd.”
Others online tweeted in agreement with Gly and Rashidi.
A colleague of Gly wrote that he felt President Trump was not being disrespectful and tweeted “Kurdishness is an identity most Kurds are openly proud of.”
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
While many Kurds tweeted about how they had no problem with the President’s statement, others were much less pleased about it.
Referring to someone by their ethnicity is not that much politically correct. Not a big deal but not cool either.
— Ceng Sagnic (@cngsgnc) September 27, 2018
Mr. Kurd. How is he not mortified? Because embarrassment only occurs when you have a sense of what you are doing. It’s why children aren’t embarrassed. Only in extremely rare cases do they have self-awareness. He has none. https://t.co/848SaoyujH
— James Morrison (@JamesPMorrison) September 27, 2018
The President has been vocal before about his support of the Kurds at United Nations events before according to Kurdistan 24, answering a question from a Kurdish reporter during a United Nations summit in Brussels on July 12.
The President told Kurdistan 24 reporter Barzan Hassan, “I think the Kurds are great people, they are incredible fighters, they are wonderful, warm, intelligent allies in many cases, as you know, it’s different groups of people. But they are great people, I do believe they are great people.”