- President Donald Trump has to be reminded of differences in time zones on a “constant basis” as he impulsively attempts to call other world leaders, a diplomatic source told Politico.
- Trump “wasn’t great with recognising” that an older world leader might not be awake “or in the right place at 10:30 or 11 p.m. their time,” a former National Security Council official said.
- Trump has a particularly “bizarre” interest in French President Emmanuel Macron and randomly calls him for no apparent reason, one former official told the publication.
President Donald Trump has to be reminded of differences in time zones on a “constant basis” as he impulsively attempts to call other world leaders, a diplomatic source told Politico in an article published Monday.
According to a former National Security Council official who spoke to Politico, Trump “wasn’t great with recognising” that an older world leader might not be awake “or in the right place at 10:30 or 11 p.m. their time.”
A White House official said Trump is well aware of how time zones work, especially as someone who has for years worked in international business, but is often too busy to be concerned with such details.
“He’s the president of the United States. He’s not stopping to add up” time differences, the official told Politico.
“I don’t think anybody would expect him or Obama or Bush or Clinton or anybody to do that,” the official added. “That’s the whole reason you have a staff to say ‘yes, we’ll set it up,’ and then they find a time that makes most sense.”
‘These are very busy people. You don’t just call to check in.’
The president also “randomly” calls other world leaders without specific topics to discuss, leaving them confused as to why he reached out, a former national-security official told Politico, adding that Trump has a particularly “bizarre” interest in French President Emmanuel Macron.
Trump “wanted to talk to him constantly,” the official said, adding that “Macron would be like: ‘Hey, what are we talking about?'”
The official added: “These are very busy people. You don’t just call to check in.”
A White House official told the publication that Macron had requested most of the calls with Trump.
Past presidents were also known to call their global counterparts at awkward hours, but Trump has reportedly consistently done so without fully preparing for their conversations, exhausting and annoying foreign aides and diplomats in the process.
Even when Trump does prepare for meetings or conversations with other foreign leaders, there’s apparently quite a learning curve – for example, he referred to Nepal as “nipple” and Bhutan as “button” as aides prepped him for a meeting with India’s prime minister, Politico reported, citing two sources with knowledge of the meeting.
‘Foreign leaders appreciate that the president is willing to take their calls day and night’
The White House defended Trump and said he had “good rapports” with other world leaders.
“The president has developed strong relationships and good rapports that are not only friendly, but also allow for candid conversations with many of America’s closest allies,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, told Politico.
Sanders said that Trump has “even worked the phone with our competitors” and that “foreign leaders appreciate that the president is willing to take their calls day and night.”
Since Trump’s earliest days in the White House, there have been numerous reports of his struggles to follow diplomatic protocol and his apparent propensity for awkward exchanges with foreign leaders.
Some of the more embarrassing conversations that have been made public present Trump as an unpolished, brash leader – something that CNN said inspired the White House’s recent decision to stop releasing public summaries of Trump’s conversations with world leaders.
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