President Donald Trump has ample experience hosting reality TV, but on Friday he had a chance to show off his acting skills.
During a press conference at the “very famous White House,” as Trump described it in his prepared remarks, the president pretended to understand Japan’s visiting prime minister, Shinzo Abe, during his opening remarks.
Despite this, Trump nodded along during Abe’s remarks, even laughed at Abe’s jokes, and otherwise carried on as if nothing were amiss. The reporters in the room soon took notice.
Pres Trump doesn't appear to be wearing the translation earpiece during PM Abe's remarks. Wait, does POTUS speak Japanese? pic.twitter.com/MuHTDQjwhe
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) February 10, 2017
Trump does not appear to be wearing an earpiece to translate Prime Minister Abe's remarks. pic.twitter.com/zcN21DuXgm
— Rebecca Ballhaus (@rebeccaballhaus) February 10, 2017
When asked whether Trump wore the earpiece during Abe’s opening remarks, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a deputy White House press secretary, told the Guardian, “I don’t believe during that time. But he did see the text and they spoke quite extensively before the remarks.”
Eventually, Trump realized he had an earpiece through which he could hear an English translation of Abe’s comments.
As CNN later reported, Trump was taking cues from his staff to know how to respond to Abe’s remarks.
The press conference was not all for show, however. Trump also announced that his administration plans to implement new security measures next week as court battles over his immigration executive order, which remains on hold following Thursday’s federal appeals court decision.
“We will be doing something very rapidly having to do with additional security for our country,” Trump said. “You will be seeing that sometime next week.”
Update 5pm CT, Feb. 10: Added comment from White House spokesperson.
H/T Death & Taxes