International politics can be a tricky business especially when you're faced with a divisive politician from another country who has riled up millions of people across the globe and you have to make nice with them. It can be a whole lot worse if you're not a politician yourself but just married to one. You have no standing or mandate to tell them where to go and have to, publicly at least, support your partner's decisions.
One way of getting out of any awkward encounters might be to pretend you don't speak the same language as this person and hope they just wander off and this might work if everything you did wasn't a matter of public knowledge. It has been suggested that Japan's first lady may have done exactly this when seated next to American President Donald Trump at a recent dinner for the leaders of the G20 nations.
As the Donald left his seat to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin, it raised a few eyebrows given that Trump and his campaign team are under investigation for possibly colluding with Russia in order to get dirt on his competitor for the Presidency, Hillary Clinton. This conversation took place with just Mr. Trump, Mr. Putin and Mr. Putin's own interpreter with Donald having no other representative with him so there is no official American record of the meeting apart from Donald's word.
Positioned next to Akie Abe, wife of the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, at the dinner, many questioned why r. trump would leave his position at the table to talk to Mr. Putin and so when he was asked about the matter by The New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman, Mr. Trump responded that she spoke no English.
Trump said of the incident: "So, I was seated next to the wife of Prime Minister Abe, who I think is a terrific guy, and she’s a terrific woman, but doesn’t speak English."
Haberman responds, "Like, nothing, right? Like zero?"
"Like, not 'hello."
"That must make for an awkward seating."
"Well, it’s hard, because you know, you’re sitting there for——"
"So the dinner was probably an hour and 45 minutes."
Which is an interesting interpretation of events but the fact is, Ms. Abe can speak English and very, very well. In fact, she has given at least one major speech in English which has had many commentators speculating that she may well have pretended not to have known any English so as to avoid interacting with President Trump.
Of course, it is also possible that she did try speaking to Donald and he just needed an excuse to talk about some important matters with Mr. Putin that he didn't want to share with the press. We guess we'll never know. Mr. Trump said of his meeting with Putin that they spoke of:
“pleasantries more than anything else” and the pair had discussed adoption.
“We talked about Russian adoption,” he said. “Yeah. I always found that interesting. Because, you know, he ended that years ago.”
What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you think Ms. Abe blanked the Trumpster or is someone being economical with the truth? Let us know in the comments below.