Trump pretends to understand Japanese during visit with prime minister

Donald Trump Shinzo Abe

Screenshot via CBS News


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.

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

Andrew Couts

Andrew Couts

Andrew Couts is the former editor of Layer 8, a section dedicated to the intersection of the Internet and the state—and the gaps in between. Prior to the Daily Dot, Couts served as features editor and features writer for Digital Trends, associate editor of, and associate editor at Maxim magazine. When he’s not working, Couts can be found hiking with his German shepherds or blasting around on motorcycles.