Japan’s Akie Abe Apparently Pretended Not to Speak English to Avoid Trump, and Other Oddities From His Times Interview

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Why did Donald Trump do an interview with the New York Times yesterday? Is this some kind of 17-dimensional chess move designed to make us forget about fighting against his terrible Affordable Care Act repeal effort? Is he trying to make nice with the media, since making war isn’t going so well for him? Does he just not understand what’s going on at any given moment? His answers in the interview make that last one seem the most likely.

Just take a look at some of these excerpts. True to form, he couldn’t even get past the first question in the interview without talking about Hillary Clinton. Even better? That question was literally, “How was lunch?”

His response: “It was good. We are very close. It’s a tough—you know, health care. Look, Hillary Clinton worked eight years in the White House with her husband as president and having majorities and couldn’t get it done. Smart people, tough people—couldn’t get it done. Obama worked so hard. They had 60 in the Senate. They had big majorities and had the White House. I mean, ended up giving away the state of Nebraska. They owned the state of Nebraska. Right. Gave it away. Their best senator did one of the greatest deals in the history of politics. What happened to him?”

OK, to be fair, the lunch he was asked about was a lunch with Republicans where they discussed their health care efforts, and Hillary Clinton did work on health care as the first lady. But other topics were no more sensible, like when he talked about Attorney General Jeff Sessions recusal from the Russia investigation. Trump said that if he’d known Sessions would recuse himself, he would’ve hired someone else for the job entirely, because it was “very unfair to the president” to take a job and then recuse himself from one single investigation that he really should be recused from. Sure.

But he just has some pretty odd ideas about the way the government functions in general, including his belief that the FBI only reports to the Attorney General as a courtesy:

Then, there’s this nugget of pure joy:

Yes, that’s Japan’s First Lady Akie Abe, who seemingly pretended not to speak English for hours to avoid talking to Donald Trump. (Here she is delivering that keynote, in English.) Either that, or Trump is just making up this explanation to cover his ego because she wouldn’t talk to him, which seems unlikely not because Trump would never do such a thing, but because he probably wouldn’t have given her a choice by doing all the talking himself anyway. It’s also possible that he just assumed she didn’t speak English and she did nothing to correct him, which is equally awesome on her part.

But back to health care and the possible ruination of our country for a moment, here’s what it sounds like when the health care policy you partially ran your presidential campaign on is also the book you didn’t read before your 5th grade oral book report:

“But what it does, Maggie, it means it gets tougher and tougher. As they get something, it gets tougher. Because politically, you can’t give it away. So pre-existing conditions are a tough deal. Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan. Here’s something where you walk up and say, ‘I want my insurance.’ It’s a very tough deal, but it is something that we’re doing a good job of.”

… If that fifth grader were also simultaneously Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development.

He also had this to say about his trip abroad and meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron:

“TRUMP: He’s a great guy. Smart. Strong. Loves holding my hand.

HABERMAN: I’ve noticed.

TRUMP: People don’t realize he loves holding my hand. And that’s good, as far as that goes.”

So I guess he still can’t get his mind off of Macron’s talk of purposefully out-handshaking him, which reportedly irritated Trump to the point of influencing his desire to drop out of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Either he’s just trying to do some kind of handshake smack talk of his own, or the characterization that Macron “loves holding [Trump’s] hand” shows that Macron’s play at buttering up the egomaniac is paying off.

Either way, the whole interview is full of similar utter nonsense, like his thoughts on historical figures:

And his sudden decision that now-fired FBI Director James Comey was in fact trying to blackmail him when he let Trump know about the “Steele Dossier” of allegations about Trump, both salacious and otherwise:

As well as Trump promising that what his administration is going to do about our foreign trade policies will be “much more interesting than anybody would understand.” I’ll give him that one. His uninformed stances tend to be incredibly difficult to understand, and I expect his eventual moves on trade to be no different.

(image: Shutterstock/a katz)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.