Report: Trump Pronounced Nepal as “Nipple”
Stories of how Donald Trump doesn’t like to read briefings or prepare in any way for important diplomatic meetings have been consistent since the very beginning of his tenure in the White House. It would be one thing if he was working with a vast expanse of knowledge of foreign relations when winging it during a meeting or joint press conference, but as administration sources speaking to Politico in a new article attest, it’s hard enough just getting him to be able to point out certain countries on a map or getting him to take into account the time difference before calling a world leader or pronounce the names of certain countries correctly.
A common frustration among Trump aides speaking to Politico allegedly concerns the need to constantly explain the concept of time zones to the president.
“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,” a former National Security Council official told Politico. Given how the president has a tendency to stay up until well after midnight only to wake up a few hours later to start live-tweeting Fox & Friends, one can see how he’d assume that, say, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would be available to chat at all hours.
One White House aide basically expressed that sentiment when he said that Trump knows what time zones are, he just doesn’t feel encumbered by them. From Politico:
A White House official said Trump, as a former jet-setting global businessman, understands how time zones work but doesn’t dwell on such details when he wants to talk to a foreign leader. “He’s the president of the United States. He’s not stopping to add up” time differences, the official said. “I don’t think anybody would expect him or Obama or Bush or Clinton or anybody to do that. 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.”
Okay, but it’s never a good look when an administration official has to explicitly confirm to a journalist that the president understands how time zones work.
In addition to struggling with navigating global time difference, the president also allegedly has trouble pronouncing the names of countries, and is unable to locate them on a map. Staffers realized they had their work cut out for them while trying to get Trump up to speed for a 2017 White House meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when the president was confounded by both Nepal and Bhutan’s location and pronunciations.
“He didn’t know what those were. He thought it was all part of India,” a former NSC staffer said. “He was like, ‘What is this stuff in between and these other countries?’”
If Trump had issues locating Nepal and Bhutan, he had even more trouble pronouncing them. From Politico:
In one case, Trump, while studying a briefer’s map of South Asia ahead of a 2017 meeting with India’s prime minister, mispronounced Nepal as “nipple” and laughingly referred to Bhutan as “button,” according to two sources with knowledge of the meeting.