Trump's meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe back in June was certainly awkward, but it also didn't go as well as their public statements and remarks would have us believe according to sources who spoke to the Washington Post.
To give you an idea of just how poorly the meeting went, Trump reportedly invoked Pearl Harbor because Prime Minister Abe's advice about North Korea angered him.
“I remember Pearl Harbor,” the president said, referring to the surprise attack that propelled the United States into World War II.
Trump then launched into a blistering critique of Japan’s economic policies, according to people familiar with the conversation. He railed against the U.S. trade deficit with Japan and urged Abe to negotiate a bilateral trade deal that is more favorable to U.S. exporters of beef and automobiles.
The meeting, which left Abe exasperated, epitomized the paradoxical nature of Trump’s closest relationship with a foreign leader.
You might say Shinzo Abe has been vindicated, but being right about Trump is not really a reward.
This meeting took place before Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Trump reportedly invoked Pearl Harbor in anger because the prime minister advised him not to suspend military exercises with South Korea or let the North off hook without clearly demonstrating a willingness to denuclearize. Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced just this morning that those exercises are now set to resume because the North has not demonstrated their willingness at all.
Now forgive the long quote, but you have to read this to appreciate the full scope of Trump's petty, childish dickishness and what interacting with him is actually like.
“I’ve never heard him [trash]-talk Abe. And you can’t say that about a lot of the world leaders,” said a U.S. official, who, like other White House, State Department and Japanese government officials interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a crucial bilateral relationship.
He isn't nearly as disrespectful to Abe as he is other world leaders?
I suppose he deserves a cookie.
“Abe hoped his relationship with Trump would translate into strong bilateral relations. But on both the security and economic fronts, he has faced major setbacks,” said Shihoko Goto, a Japan expert at the Wilson Center, a Washington think tank.
Japanese officials say Trump misstates economic data during meetings and rebuffs advice on North Korea. In phone calls and meetings ahead of Trump’s landmark summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore in June, Abe repeatedly advised Trump not to halt military exercises with South Korea or entertain an agreement to formally end the Korean War until North Korea takes concrete steps to denuclearize.
“Abe was completely ignored,” said a person close to the Japanese prime minister. [...]
During heated exchanges, Japanese officials say Abe waits for Trump to make his point, and finds an opening later on in the conversation to rebut him. “He understands if he categorically denies what the president says, it might hurt the president’s pride,” one Japanese diplomat said.
Developing a personal relationship with Trump, to the extent that Trump even has relationships, does not translate into stronger foreign relations, or even respectful relations, because that is not Trump's view what a relationship should be.
Trump's idea of a relationship is comparable to his idea of what a "deal" is. Trump idea of a "deal" is he gets everything and you get nothing. Likewise, his idea of a relationship is you flatter and display loyalty to him and he displays none in return.
I'm not qualified to say Trump is a sociopath, but he's something. He is not capable of forming reciprocal bonds with other humans. Animals have more clinical empathy than he does. I doubt he has had a genuine friend in his entire life.
Pearl Harbor occurred 5 years before Trump was born.