President Donald Trump cut out of Washington, D.C., early on Friday, August 9, to attend two campaign fundraisers held in the Hamptons. Although the events were closed to the press, the New York Post reports that the president spent part of the second fundraiser doing impressions of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s accents.
According to the Post, Trump bragged about his prowess as a negotiator before launching into an impression of Moon:
He started by saying how the EU had not paid its share to NATO and how he insisted it do so.
Talking about South Korea, Trump said it makes great TVs and has a thriving economy, “So why are we paying for their defense. They’ve got to pay.” He then mimicked the accent of the leader Moon Jae-in while describing how he caved in to Trump’s tough negotiations.
In addition to allegedly doing grossly inappropriate impressions of Moon’s accented English, Trump reportedly let his contempt for the poor show with a charming tale about collecting rent checks for the family real-estate business when he was growing up. He said, according to the Post: “It was easier to get a billion dollars from South Korea than to get $114.13 from a rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn, and believe me, those 13 cents were very important.”
When it came time for him to re-enact a conversation with Prime Minister Abe regarding trade tariffs, Trump allegedly assumed “a fake Japanese accent.” The president then reportedly gushed about his supposedly close friendship with Japan’s leader, and his interest in Abe’s father, Zenji Abe, who was among the pilots who bombed Pearl Harbor:
Trump spoke about his friendship with Abe and how fascinated he was with Abe’s father, who had been a kamikaze pilot. Trump asked Abe if the kamikaze pilots were drunk or on drugs. Abe said no, they just loved their country. Trump remarked, “Imagine they get in a plane with a half a tank of gas and fly into steel ships just for the love of their country!”
Trump was reportedly far more generous with his praise when discussing his relationship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, claiming that he “just got a beautiful letter from him this week. We are friends. People say he only smiles when he sees me.” Trump added: “If I hadn’t been elected president, we would be in a big, fat, juicy war with North Korea.”
The president has been called out for performing ill-advised impressions of foreign leaders before, like when he imitated Chinese President Xi Jinping while praising the Chinese leader’s hardline stance against drug trafficking during a speech given in February. He also performed a horrifically unflattering impression of Asian leaders as a whole while giving a speech on tax reform in November 2017.
The alleged incidents mocking the leaders of two of the United States’ allies reportedly occurred after billionaire Manhattan real estate developer, Miami Dolphins owner, and Equinox owner Stephen Ross took heat after it was announced he was hosting the first of the two aforementioned events, which cost attendees up to $250,000 each. (Joe Farrell hosted the second event at his $39 million Bridgehampton home.) In response to the backlash, Ross issued a statement on August 7, claiming: “I have been, and will continue to be, an outspoken champion of racial equality, inclusion, diversity, public education, and environmental sustainability, and I have and will continue to support leaders on both sides of the aisle to address these challenges.”
It would be interesting to know how Trump’s reported impressions fit into Ross’s championing of “racial equality.”
SPIN has reached out to the White House for comment.