Trump’s latest interview with the New York Times has a lot of WTF moments, but there’s a small piece of information that’d make anyone giggle. During an exchange about his impromptu conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump claimed that he didn’t talk to his dinner neighbor Japan’s First Lady Akie Abe because she doesn’t speak a lick of English:
TRUMP: So, I was seated next to the wife of Prime Minister Abe [Shinzo Abe of Japan], who I think is a terrific guy, and she’s a terrific woman, but doesn’t speak English.
HABERMAN: Like, nothing, right? Like zero?
TRUMP: Like, not “hello.”
HABERMAN: That must make for an awkward seating.
First Lady Abe must have thought it’d be awkward, too, because she didn’t say anything—but not because she doesn’t know English. Check out this keynote speech she gave in New York City three years ago at the Ford Foundation:
And during her visit in February, Abe took a guided tour with Melania Trump—which was entirely in English.
This means Abe pretended to not speak English—or she just didn’t talk to him and Trump assumed her reluctance to speak meant a lack of English-speaking skills. Or maybe Trump is lying and is using it as an excuse. Either way, I think Abe was probably relieved to escape spending a nearly two-hour dinner talking to Trump.