When Donald Trump was running for the office of president, part of his appeal to some was his lack of political experience, but with over a year and a half in office some sources say that he still hasn’t caught on to some of the finer points of the job, and he seems to have a particular problem with many of the details critical to international politics and relations.
Bess Levin of Vanity Fair wrote that Trump’s first year on the job was marked by a number of gaffes, and though he claims to be “like really smart,” a number of things that stump him seem pretty basic.
She says that according to reporter Daniel Lippman, Trump still needs staff members to explain time zones around the world to him. White House aides say they have to regularly explain to Trump why if it’s late afternoon in Washington, D.C., he can’t call the prime minister of Japan.
“He wasn’t great with recognizing that the leader of a country might be 80 or 85 years old and isn’t going to be awake or in the right place at 10:30 or 11 P.M. their time. When he wants to call someone, he wants to call someone. He’s more impulsive that way. He doesn’t think about what time it is or who it is.”
Geography is reportedly still a struggle, as he didn’t realize Nepal and Bhutan were countries but assumed they were just part of India.
“He thought it was all part of India. He was like, ‘What is this stuff in between and these other countries?'”
And while on the topic of Nepal and Bhutan, pronunciation is a struggle for Trump.
“He reportedly pronounced Bhutan as ‘button’ and Nepal as ‘nipple,’ a classic mix-up! During public remarks, the president has also referred to Namibia as ‘Nambia,’ but White House officials were very proud of one of his conquests: ‘He did a very good job of saying Cote d’Ivoire’.”
Levin explained that Trump also didn’t understand that there are conflicts a president needs to know about between other foreign powers. Trump didn’t realize he was putting his foot in his mouth when he praised the Chinese president when meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“Everyone was cringing because Japan and China are rivals, and the Japanese and the Chinese are nervous about the president tilting too far towards the other side.”
Lastly, Levin said that Trump didn’t realize that world leaders don’t call each other just to chat. After he met President Macron, he was calling him all the time without a reason, and before you call it requires a reason.
“These are very busy people. You don’t just call to check in.”