Monday, August 13, 2018


Politico reports:
Several times in the first year of his administration, President Donald Trump wanted to call Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the middle of the afternoon. But there was a problem. Midafternoon in Washington is the middle of the night in Tokyo — when Abe would be fast asleep.

Trump’s aides had to explain the issue, which one diplomatic source said came up on “a constant basis,” but it wasn’t easy.

“He wasn’t great with recognizing that the leader of a country might be 80 or 85 years old and isn’t going to be awake or in the right place at 10:30 or 11 p.m. their time,” said a former Trump NSC official. “When he wants to call someone, he wants to call someone. He’s more impulsive that way. He doesn’t think about what time it is or who it is,” added a person close to Trump.
In headlines elsewhere, this is being reported as "Trump Doesn't Understand Time Zones" and "Trump Foreign Policy Held Back by Struggle to Grasp Time Zones." But is that the problem -- or is it that he's an immature narcissist driven by the need for immediate gratification? “When he wants to call someone, he wants to call someone. He’s more impulsive that way. He doesn’t think about what time it is or who it is,” we're told by "a person close to Trump." I assume that the problem is Trump's spoiled-brat personality more than it's a failure to grasp that time zones exist (though, of course, it could easily be both).

Politico also tells us:
In one case, Trump, while studying a briefer’s map of South Asia ahead of a 2017 meeting with India’s prime minister, mispronounced Nepal as “nipple” and laughingly referred to Bhutan as “button,” according to two sources with knowledge of the meeting.
But this has to be given the bothsides treatment, of course:
Past presidents have also called foreign leaders at odd hours — in their own time zones. President Bill Clinton was notorious for that practice, according to James P. Rubin, a former assistant secretary of State in the Clinton administration. Before the signing of a key 1999 peace agreement in Northern Ireland, Clinton placed overseas calls until 2:30 a.m. Washington time — well after most of his aides were asleep.
So I guess it's okay that Trump calls foreign leaders when they're asleep because Bill Clinton called people in the British Isles when he should have been asleep but it was already morning for them.

President Barack Obama made his share of incorrect pronunciations, including by mangling the former longtime Singapore leader Lee Kuan Yew’s name in 2016.
Obama does mangle the name (at the end of the clip):

It's not smooth. But once he gets it right, it rolls off his tongue. Trump would have painstakingly picked his way through the name, as if memorizing each syllable was a separate day's labor.

And then there's this:
Trump’s love of talking on the phone has created special problems for his top national security officials, who say that he sometimes places calls that have no clear diplomatic purpose.

Trump has what one former Trump national security official calls a “bizarre” fascination with calling French President Emmanuel Macron. “He wanted to talk to him constantly ... Macron would be like: ‘Hey what are we talking about?’ These are very busy people. You don’t just call to check in,” the official said.
Trump's Macron mancrush is ... just weird. I think it's clear that while women are Trump's preferred bed partners, he finds men very sexy. He digs generals, dictators, bikers -- I just can't figure out why Macron floats his boat.

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