The First Lady of Japan Akie Abe appears to have avoided speaking to Trump by pretending not to speak English.
Trump was seated next to Abe, who is the wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at an event during the G20 Summit in Hamburg Germany earlier this month. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Trump said Abe “doesn’t speak English.”
When pushed on the subject by the Time’s Maggie Haberman, Trump responded, “Like, not ‘hello.’” And so Trump said having conversation was “hard.”
But it turns out Japan’s First Lady has an excellent command over the English language — as does her husband — and was recorded giving the keynote address (in English) during an event at New York City’s Ford Foundation in 2014 (video below).
So, did Abe simply not want to speak to Trump during the summit? Observers on social media seem to think so:
Looks like the First Lady of Japan pretended not to speak English for nearly 2 hrs to avoid talking to Trump https://t.co/ee9LGHVlDo
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) July 20, 2017
Trump had a Japanese translator because he was next to Japanese First Lady. Haven’t we learnt the folly of allowing Trump to talk to women?
— AJ (@ajnspencer) July 19, 2017
Wouldn’t you have done the same? https://t.co/RUktWGjtLk
— Brian Ruh (@brianruh) July 20, 2017
Abe and Trump met in Feb. Has she pretended not to speak English all this time, or did Trump throw her under the bus to explain Putin bilat? https://t.co/TTHdt2Ro5I
— Michael Boyce (@MP_Boyce) July 20, 2017
Apparently the Japanese First Lady DOES speak English. And even if she didn't, he had a translator for the evening. What a prick.
— Juju (@kaleidoscope__7) July 20, 2017
Others pointed out that U.S. First Lady Melania Trump hosted Akie Abe in February. Both First Ladies toured a garden in South Florida with Abe, and both spoke English without translators.
President Trump would later switch seats away from Abe at this same dinner in order to sit with Russian President Vladimir Putin for an informal meeting that went undisclosed until earlier this week.