Journalists Offered Reward to Ask Trump About US-Wakanda Relations

As the White House and its allies seek to defend President Trump against accusations of racism following reports that he referred to African nations as "shithole countries," one writer and comedian wants to get the Leader of the Free World on the record about Wakanda. Yes, the fictional setting of Marvel's Black Panther.

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Trump faces growing condemnation following a closed-door meeting with lawmakers about immigration, in which the president allegedly expressed frustration about people from Haiti, El Salvador and countries in Africa coming to the United States. Trump denied using the vulgar term on Friday, only for his assertions to be undercut by Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. On Sunday, even as U.S. diplomats were summoned by foreign governments to explain the comments, Trump insisted, "I am not a racist."

I am offering $300 to the journalist who very seriously asks Trump his opinion on our nation’s relations with Wakanda and gets the question and answer recorded live on video. I know $300 doesn’t sound like a lot to some people but I also know what most reporters make so...$300.

— Sara Benincasa (@SaraJBenincasa) January 13, 2018

As the story gained steam on Friday, writer and stand-up comedian Sara Benincasa offered a $300 reward to any journalist "who very seriously asks Trump his opinion on our nation’s relations with Wakanda and gets the question and answer recorded live on video." While Benincasa conceded that's not a lot of money, she added, "I also know what most reporters make so ... $300."

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Introduced in 1966 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in Marvel Comics' Fantastic Four #52, Wakanda is of course the homeland of T'Challa, better known as the superhero Black Panther. Thanks in large part to generous deposits of the fictional alloy vibranium, Wakanda is a wealthy, technologically advanced nation that's managed to keep its treasures largely secret from the rest of the world.

Although shown on a map in 2010's Iron Man 2 and mentioned in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, Wakanda wasn't formally introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe until 2016's Captain America: Civil War, which featured the debut of Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa. At the end of the film, the Wakandan king offers asylum to Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier, which one fan suggested could be material for a follow-up question to the president.

If you follow this up with a question (that he answers) about whether Wakandan/American relations are complicated by them granting asylum to the terrorist fugitive James Buchanan Barnes, I will double the offer. https://t.co/tUxrI0qcYS

— Alex Zalben (@azalben) January 13, 2018

Wakanda will take center stage in director Ryan Coogler's Black Panther, which opens Feb. 16, and then in Avengers: Infinity War, which arrives May 4.

The offer of the reward arrived just two days after Trump apparently misspoke when he announced delivery to Norway of F-52 fighter jets, which only exist in the video game Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

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