Does President Donald Trump Secretly Speak Japanese?

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Donald Trump shake hands at the White House. Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/UPI
Does President Donald Trump Secretly Speak Japanese?
Denise Recalde

President Donald Trump’s critics accuse him of pretending to understand Japanese. The leader of the United States was not wearing a translation earpiece as the prime minister of Japan delivered remarks in his native language at the White House.

The U.S. President kept nodding and seemed to be listening carefully to what Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, was saying.

When questioned whether Trump had worn an earpiece, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy press secretary of the White House, said: “I don’t believe during that time. But he did see the text and they spoke quite extensively before the remarks.”

The US executive leader did hold a small speaker to his right ear during the question and answer period with reporters, some of whom came from Japan.

A handshake between Abe and Trump also provoked comments on social media, with some users believing it had lasted an excessively long time, others claiming Abe had rolled his eyes at the end of it, and several social media observers saying Trump had pulled Abe’s arm during their encounter.

Trump remarked on Abe’s “strong hands” following the meeting, said the White House pool reporter.

The handshake lasted a full 19 seconds, and seemed awkward. However, they had to shake hands in front of many reporters and had to wait until they all had taken enough pictures, which prolonged the greeting.

Abe is currently visiting Trump and the two are spending some days in Florida at the president’s retreat in Mar-a-Lago.

Trump gave Abe a VIP tour of the White House and talked about the economy and security of both their countries.

Abe praised Trump, calling him “an excellent businessman” and a man full of energy.

He said: “The United States is a country of opportunity.

“That has always been, and will not change. That is why Japanese companies are investing across the country.

“That is why in the last year there has been $150 billion of new investment made into the United States.”

The Japanese prime minister was the only global leader to meet Trump before his inauguration — at New York’s Trump Tower — and is the second, after the UK’s Theresa May, to do the same after Jan. 20.

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