Donald Trump To Asian-American Student: ‘Are You From South Korea?’

It almost seems like Donald Trump has pared his campaign strategy down to four simple words: “Open mouth, insert foot.” The billionaire’s high-profile run for the GOP nomination has at times seemed like a recurring series of uncanny gaffes resembling a blooper reel from the classic film Groundhog Day. Trump’s most recent lapse of decorum happened at a Thursday evening campaign event at the Problem Solver Convention in New Hampshire.

According to The Huffington Post, 20-year-old Harvard economics major Joseph Choe addressed Donald Trump during a question and answer session, asking the candidate about statements he had made over the summer in which he asserted that South Korea takes advantage of the United States. Before Choe, an Asian-American, could finish his question, Trump interrupted the man asking, “Are you from South Korea?”

“I’m not. I was born in Texas, raised in Colorado,” Choe replied, as noted by Huffington Post. C-Span posted video of the exchange.

Choe followed up by telling Trump, “No matter where I’m from, I like to get my facts straight.” He then explained that Trump’s previous statements that South Korea does not provide anything to the United States for continued defense of their share of the peninsula by noting that the nation paid $861 million for 2014. A report by Stars and Stripes from early 2014 corroborates this figure, indicating that the U.S. government requested that specific dollar amount.

Trump interrupted Choe’s line of questioning once more, eliminating the chance for further substantive discussion on his comments about South Korea. He dismissed the $861 million paid by South Korea as “peanuts” before moving on to other topics.

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Donald Trump has angered some within the Hispanic community with his disparaging comments about Mexicans.

The above-noted faux pas regarding nationality and ethnicity comes on the heels of a bizarre tweet by Trump’s fellow GOP contender Mike Huckabee earlier in the week. While “live-tweeting” the Democratic Debate, the former Arkansas governor quipped that he would trust Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders with tax dollars like he would trust a “North Korean chef” with his dog.

Although the inflammatory comment by Huckabee was re-tweeted and favorited thousands of times, he was largely lambasted via social media and the press for demonstrating implicit racism and cultural insensitivity. Many critics also pointed out that Huckabee’s own son was kicked out of the Boy Scouts of America at the age of 17 over allegations that he tortured and killed a dog. For his part, Huckabee shrugged off criticism, refusing to apologize and maintaining that he was simply waxing philosophical about a “brutal dictatorship.”

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Mike Huckabee seemingly forgot allegations regarding his son's mistreatment of a dog when he tweeted a joke about Koreans eating dogs.

Donald Trump’s embarrassing moment with Joseph Choe is oddly reminiscent of a noteworthy blunder by Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot during his ill-fated bid for the presidency. At a 1992 address to an audience of NAACP members, Perot attempted to curry favor by suggesting that economic strains would profoundly affect the African-American community. But in his awkwardly-worded, off-the-cuff presentation, Perot referred to his African-American audience collectively as “you people,” prompting boos from the crowd. Perot was unable to resurrect himself after the slip, drawing a protracted bout of criticism for his insensitivity. While Perot garnered a substantial amount of media attention and voter enthusiasm at the beginning of his campaign, he finished third in the general election, winning only 18.91 percent of the popular vote and no electoral college votes according to U.S. Election Atlas.

Donald Trump has already offended large contingents within America’s Hispanic and LGBT communities and he has also struggled in winning over women voters as the result of his public feuds with Megyn Kelly and Rosie O’Donnell and seemingly mean-spirited jokes about GOP rival Carly Fiorina. Asian-Americans might well be the next group to pass up a seat on the Trump bandwagon, but given Donald Trump’s consistent success in the polls despite a propensity for off-color antics and inflammatory polemics, it will take more than a slip of the tongue to bring about substantive change in Trump’s style and his message.

[Images via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images; and Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]