President Donald Trump is having problems understanding foreign affairs, according to a new report from POLITICO. The report claims that Trump has appeared ignorant of basic facts about the world and sometimes flippant about America’s foreign policy.
POLITICO’s Daniel Lippman claims that Trump had difficulty understanding time zones outside the United States. The President reportedly wanted to call Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe in the middle of the day DC time, which would have been the early hours of the morning in Japan. Aides had to explain to Trump that Abe would probably be in bed.
Sources told POLITICO that these issues occurred on a ‘constant basis’ and that Trump had problems understanding that foreign leaders would not be awake to speak with him, particularly if they were elderly. Trump is known for waking up early in the morning and tweeting, but other world leaders tend to have more regular schedules.
Separately, Trump had difficulty understanding certain countries on a map of Asia. He referred to the nation of Nepal as ‘Nipple’ and nearby Bhutan as ‘Button’. He also struggled to understand why those countries were not part of India.
White House officials have denied that Trump made the comments and claimed that he asks useful questions during briefings. Trump’s behavior has often been defended as ‘unpolished’ and ‘learning on the job’ but Trump has been president for more than a year.
Trump has committed a number of diplomatic gaffes in the past year, including calling African nations ‘shithole countries’ and praising China’s strongman leader Xi Jinping in front of Japan’s prime minister. The two nations continue to be close rivals, with Japan worried about China’s increasing assertiveness.