Trump‘s golf diplomacy: President plays a round with Japanese Prime Minister Abe and professional player Isao Aoki on second day of his Tokyo trip – where he stopped mid-course to pose for a selfie and tweet about ‘Swampman Joe Biden‘
President Trump went on a golf outing with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hours after landing in Tokyo.
The president arrived by helicopter at the Mobara Country Club Landing Zone in Chiba on Sunday morning.
He shared a quick handshake with his counterpart, who he was seeing for the first time since he arrived the evening before, and rode away with the Japanese PM in his golf cart.
Abe was seen driving the golf cart in aerial footage taken by a local news station while Trump in the front seat next to him as they made their way along the course. The White House says the duo played with Japanese pro golfer Isao Aoki.
Before their game, Trump tweeted, ‘Going to play golf right now with . Japan loves the game. Tremendous fans of , , and — I said what about , they said we love Gary too!’
During their game, Abe tweeted a selfie showing him and the president smiling. The U.S. president meanwhile sent a corrected tweet from the course about ‘Swampman Joe Biden,‘ whom he‘d called ‘a low IQ individual‘ in a message that misspelled the Democratic presidential candidate‘s last name.
As he traveled back to his hotel Trump claimed that Japanese officials told him ‘Democrats would rather see the United States fail than see me or the Republican Party succeed.‘ He said that trade was discussed but further talks would be delayed until after the Japanese House of Councillors election this July.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) tweeted a selfie showing him and President Trump during their golf game in Chiba, Japan on Saturday
Trump is on a golf outing with Abe just hours after he and First Lady Melania Trump landed in Japan
The president‘s helicopter, Marine One, landed on the course at Mobara Country Club in Chiba on Saturday
The president and the Japanese premier warmly greeted each other before playing a round of golf on Saturday
In true Trumpian style, Abe welcomed the first couple with a tweet and a photo of the Tokyo Skytree, which the government lit up in the colors of the American flag. ‘Reiwa‘ is the Japanese name for the new imperial era, which began on May 1 – the day on which Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne. Japan says that ‘reiwa‘ is loosely translated as ‘beautiful harmony‘
TRUMP‘S TOKYO TRIP
Trump spent the morning tweeting about North Korea, Jussie Smollett and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
On his way to the golf course, the president tweeted: ‘North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me.‘
He initially misspelled the former U.S. vice president‘s name and had to correct it in tweet later that said: ‘I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?‘
The Japanese are particularly concerned about Trump‘s friendly relations with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
Tokyo views North Korea as a major threat, and Pyongyang has in years past lobbed missiles over the Japanese archipelago.
Trump was not in the mood to talk when he saw reporters, declining to respond to shouted questions after a morning of tweets.
He‘d complained in one about the ‘great incompetence and corruption‘ that has surrounded the Smollett case in Chicago.
‘Remember, “MAGA COUNTRY DID IT!” That turned out to be a total lie, had nothing to do with “MAGA COUNTRY.” Serious stuff, and not even an apology to millions of people!‘ he said after he woke up in Japan.
Trump turned later to the topic of trade with Japan. ‘Great progress being made in our Trade Negotiations with Japan. Agriculture and beef heavily in play. Much will wait until after their July elections where I anticipate big numbers!‘
He appeared to be rooting for Abe‘s political party in the tweet that came after he claimed that Japanese officials had made degrading comments about Trump‘s political opponents.
While he was golfing with Abe, the U.S. president was tweeting about Joe Biden
Abe and Trump play golf almost every time they meet, most recently in April outside of Washington. He gave Trump a gold golf driver after the political novice won the 2016 presidential election in America.
The Japanese prime minister was not at the airport when the president and first lady arrived on Saturday evening local time. He sent his foreign minister to greet them.
They have a long day of events that began with golf and ends with a dinner with their respective spouses. In between, they’ll attend the final round of a sumo tournament, where Trump will present a 60-pound cup to the victor.
In true Trumpian style, Abe welcomed the first couple with a tweet and a photo of the Tokyo Skytree, which the government lit up in the colors of the American flag.
‘President Trump and the First Lady are staying in Japan as the first State Guests of the new era “Reiwa”! TOKYO SKYTREE welcomes their historic visit with a special lighting inspired by the Stars and Stripes. Akie and I are looking forward to seeing them tomorrow!’ he said.
Abe takes the wheel of the golf cart with the president sitting beside him on Saturday
Reporters and photographers take pictures and shout questions at the two leaders during their photo-op handshake on the golf course
Secret Service agents are ready on the green ahead of the president‘s golf game with Abe on Saturday
The first couple landed just after 5 pm local time and were greeted on the tarmac by Japan‘s foreign minister, Taro Kono, after 16 hours of flights from Washington.
A senior White House official told press before Trump left that trade negotiations were not the focus of the trip and were unlikely to come up.
But Trump signaled in tweets that he would will the conversation in that direction.
He told business leaders in Tokyo minutes after he landed that he wants Japan to remove barriers inhibiting the sale of American exports and purchase more of the United States‘ defense products.
In off-the-cuff remarks at a dinner attended by executives of prominent Japanese brands like Toyota and Softbank, he said, ‘Japan has had a substantial edge for many many years.
‘That‘s OK. Maybe that‘s why you like us so much. But we‘ll get it a little bit more fair, I think. I think we‘ll do that,‘ he stated.
After handshakes and photo ops, the president found an opportunity to show off his golf game
Trump reacts after swatting a ball with a driver while his playing partner, Abe, looks on at the course on Saturday
Abe has a good view from the golf cart as he watches the president line up for a shot with his iron on Saturday
The president hits a wedge shot as Abe and an unidentified guest look on at the Mobara County Club in Chiba
MY TURN! Abe also got to show off his putting game while the president watched his host on Saturday
Trump has spent many off days playing golf since he was inaugurated in January 2017
He said Japan can reduce the imbalance by purchasing additional jets, missiles and rockets from the United States – and suggested the military equipment could come in handy soon.
‘We also have a tremendous relationship on the military, and Japan is ordering a great deal of military equipment. We make the best equipment in the world,‘ he claimed. ‘And so, Japan is doing very large orders, and we appreciate that, and we think it‘s probably appropriate right now with everything that‘s going on. The world is changing.‘
‘We just spent many, many hours on the plane,‘ President Trump said at the Saturday evening dinner. ‘Here we are. We just walked off the plane, and here we are.‘
Trump said the countries are ‘getting closer‘ to a bilateral agreement. ‘We hope to have several further announcement soon, and some very big ones over the next few months,‘ he said.
‘And we‘re also here, as you know, for a very special occasion, not having to do with trade, we all know about that,‘ he said of the face time he‘ll have with the emperor on Monday.
This is the Trumps‘ second state visit to Japan. The first lady joined him on a previous journey to the country in 2017.
They‘re in Tokyo for a state visit with the emperor and empress – they‘re the imperial couple‘s first foreign visitors.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have arrived in Tokyo, Japan on Saturday evening for a five-day visit
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe sent his foreign affairs minister to welcome the president and first lady on Saturday
They spent 16 hours on flights, yet the first lady, who often changes in the air, was wearing the same dress as when she left
After they arrived in Tokyo, the Trumps jumped in the president‘s limo, which flies with him everywhere, and went to dinner
Melania wore a white, Calvin Klein shirt dress covered with postcards depicting the West for the journey. The dress initially sold for $3,900 but is currently 50 percent off
They missed an earthquake on Saturday that shook the city of Tokyo by two hours, arriving just after 5pm local time to Haneda airport.
The quake was on the low end of the intensity scale, coming in at a magnitude of 4.6, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, but it rumbled buildings enough to be noticeable.
The earthquake originated in Chiba, where Trump and Abe played their round of golf.
The president left the White House on Friday and stopped at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, early Saturday morning to refuel Air Force One on his way to Japan. He spent time with troops stationed at the base and shot a video with them that he posted to his Twitter account.
The president and first lady are staying at the Palace Hotel in Tokyo, where there was a heavy police presence in advance of their visit.
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Japanese protesters also lined the streets in opposition to the relocation of a U.S. military installation to the island of Okinawa.
Emergency action Trump took on Friday morning to expedite an arms sale to Saudi Arabia also drew scorn for protesters carrying signs with messages like, ‘Arms are for hugging. Stop arms sales.‘
U.S. President Donald Trump waves from the Beast after arriving in Tokyo‘s Haneda Airport outside the large city
Workers adjust a red carpet for the arrival the arrival of Air Force One on Saturday evening at Haneda airport in Tokyo
Trump‘s administration said the arms sale was necessary to keep Iran in check in the region. It has warned of a heightened threat from the nation.
The documents were not released until Trump was half-way around the world, although the action had been rumored for days.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent a notification to Congress on Friday after most legislators had left Washington.
Since departing Washington, the U.S. president has barely spoken to press, preferring to live tweet his thoughts, instead.
meanwhile toured a digital art museum Sunday morning in Tokyo and signed autographs for students participating in a ‘Be Best‘ event she held with her Japanese counterpart.
They took over the teamLab Borderless exhibit and invited children attending grade school within the Setagaya Public School district to create artwork for a digital aquarium that is projected onto the museum‘s walls.
The first lady drew and signed fish for a group of 30 children making colorful sea creatures of their own.
The first lady (left) and Abe‘s wife, Akie Abe, visit the Mori Building Digital Art Museum in Tokyo on Saturday
This is the second time since her husband became president that First Lady Melania Trump has visited Japan
Mori Building Digital Art Museum has been billed as the world‘s first digital art museum. The museum, a 107,000 square foot venue, opened last year
Melania Trump put her own spin on the aquarium, adding a ‘Be Best‘ element to it. Fish bearing the initiative‘s slogan swam through the digital aquarium, and Mrs. Trump told kids to ‘Be Best‘ when she gave them her autograph.
‘Mrs. Trump always loves to do anything she can with children,‘ her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, told DailyMail of the event.
Before they sat down with Japanese primary students, the first lady and Mrs. Abe visited other rooms in the art exhibit, including a sound and light exhibit with more than 1,000 sparkling, white crystals bouncing off a maze of mirrors.
They also passed through a room filled with glowing lanterns that lit up at their touch.
Mrs. Abe wore sparkly silver heels to match the occasion. Mrs. Trump walked the museum in navy blue flats and a navy jumper with white piping on the lapel.
The first lady joined Mrs. Abe for tea after press departed. She‘ll attend a sumo match this evening with her husband.
A police officer stands guard in front of the Palace Hotel Tokyo, where the Trumps are staying during their four-day state visit
U.S. and Japanese national flags are displayed on a street on May 25, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan, ahead of Donald Trump‘s arrival
Demonstrators came out against Trump on Saturday, rejecting the relocation of a U.S. base in Japan to Okinawa Island
Protesters hold a banner protesting against the U.S-developed Aegis Ashore missile interceptor systems that will be based in Japan during a demonstration against the state visit by Trump to Tokyo
Air Force One stopped to refuel in Alaska on Saturday, giving Trump an opportunity to greet the base‘s personnel
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump departed for Tokyo, Japan on Friday and spent 16 hours in the air
Their trip is centered around the enthronement of the new Japanese emperor and takes place over Memorial Day weekend.
Trump stopped at the cemetery on Thursday to hold a moment of silence for soldiers perished while serving their country.
He had previously come under scrutiny for skipping over Arlington on Veterans Day, when he was celebrating the end of WWI with other world leaders in France.
The president and first lady are the first state guests of Emperor Naruhito, who ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1, following his father‘s early abdication.
Arm-in-arm: Melania and Donald Trump are seen boarding Marine One at the beginning of their trip to Japan
Donald rump took questions from reporters on the South Lawn before jetting off in Marine One, but didn‘t answer any related to his Japan trip
Mongolian Tamawashi (L) and ozeki Takayasu (R) compete on day seven of the Grand Sumo May Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan on May 17, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. Trump and Abe will attend the final day of the tournament this weekend
The U.S. president will hold bilateral talks with Abe and give a Memorial Day speech to troops stationed at an American naval base in Yokosuka before he and Melania return to Washington.
Over the long weekend, Trump will be the guest of honor at cultural events intended to flatter the visiting leader – including a sumo wrestling tournament where he‘ll present the winner with a prize – and showcase the strength of the nations‘ friendship.
At the naval base he is expected to inspect one of Japan‘s largest warships, the JS Kaga, which will effectively be the country‘s first aircraft carrier since 1945 when it is fully outfitted.
‘As Japan‘s first state guests following the enthronement of His Majesty Emperor Naruhito on the first of May, this visit by the President comes really at a historic moment in Japan and it demonstrates that the alliance between the United States and Japan has never been stronger,‘ a senior White House official told press in advance of the first couple‘s visit.
Japan‘s new Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako wave to well-wishers during their first appearance after ascension at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on May 4. They‘ll host Donald and Melania Trump as their first state guests next week
EMPEROR NARUHITO AND THE IMPERIAL FAMILY
Emperor Naruhito ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1, 2019 after his father, Akihito, abdicated and entered retirement.
Rulers traditionally hold on to the throne until their death, but Akihito stepped down to make way for the reign of his 59-year-old son.
Naruhito‘s reign will be formally known as the ‘Reiwa‘ era, and he will be renamed the Reiwa emperor when he passes.
He is Japan‘s 126th monarch.
The Japanese emperor was once the head of government and of state affairs. Since the conclusion of World War II, the position is ceremonial.
A prime minister, currently Shinzo Abe, runs the country‘s affairs.
Naruhito studied at Oxford and speaks English. He plays both golf and tennis.
He is married to Empress Masako, who briefly lived in New York as a girl and went to high school in a suburb of Boston.
She earned her degree in economics from Radcliffe College, which later merged with Harvard. She went on to study at Oxford, as well.
Naruhito and Masako have one child: Princess Aiko, who is not eligible under Japanese law to ascend the throne.
Another male in the blood line, Hisahito, is next in line to lead the monarchy.
Abe was the first world leader to meet with Trump after he won the 2016 competition for the presidency, flying to New York to present him with a gold golf driver.
His grand gesture made an impression on Trump, who mentioned it during his state dinner toast during his last trip to Japan.
‘He actually brought me the most beautiful golf club I‘ve ever seen. It was a driver that‘s totally gold,‘ he said. ‘It is the most beautiful weapon I‘ve ever seen.‘
Abe is bringing Trump to a sumo tournament on Sunday evening, where the leaders will be seated in chairs that are being brought into the Ryogoku Kokugikan just for Trump.
Sumo watchers with floor-level seats near the dirt ring typically enjoy the martial art that only men can compete in on Japanese sitting mattresses. But Trump and Abe will sit in chairs at the event.
Abe visited Trump in Washington last month, and the president and first lady came to Tokyo on a state visit in November of 2017.
Abe lured Trump back to Japan with an invitation to meet Emperor Naruhito before any other world leader.
‘And I said, “Gee, I don‘t know if I can make it. Let me ask you a question: How big is that event compared to the Superbowl for the Japanese?”‘ Trump recalled during Abe‘s most recent White House visit.
‘And the Prime Minister said, “It‘s about 100 times bigger.” I said, “I‘ll be there. If that‘s the case, I‘ll be there”.‘
Naruhito will not be formally enthroned until a ceremony in October, but the offer to meet him a month into his reign was enough to summon Trump.
‘Isn‘t it 130 some-odd years that it‘s happened? It‘s a very unusual — it‘s a very unusual thing,‘ Trump told Abe in April of Akihito‘s abdication. ‘And you‘re talking about reigning through blood for over 3,000 years — the longest in the world. So it‘s a very, very big event.‘
Abe told him it had actually been 200 years since a living Japanese emperor stepped down.
‘Well, that‘s really nice. And that‘s an honor on behalf of our country, not just the First Lady and myself. So we really do look forward to that,‘ Trump replied. ‘And I think, on a little bit lighter note, we will also be going, perhaps, to a sumo wrestling match. I‘ve always found that fascinating.‘
He said, ‘So, in fact, we‘re having a trophy made in this country. We‘re going to give the trophy to the winner of the championship. So that should be good.‘