If there’s one thing that the president is known for, it’s his golf addiction. He has spent millions of dollars on his near-weekly vacations — which is ironic considering how fiercely he criticized his predecessor Barack Obama for his supposedly over-the-top vacationing.
He has spent, according to NBC, 76 days at a golf property since taking office.
This Sunday, following a brief stop in Hawaii, Trump arrived in Japan to kick off a twelve day tour of Asia, a tour that will include, among other things, an eventual meeting with Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of an economic summit in Vietnam. The main focus of this meeting will be the crisis over North Korea’s increasing nuclear capabilities.
Before all of this, Trump took to the golf course with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and professional golfer Hideki Matsuyama.
Playing golf with Prime Minister Abe and Hideki Matsuyama, two wonderful people! pic.twitter.com/vYLULe0o2K
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2017
Trump described Matsuyama as “the greatest player in the history of Japan — possibly their greatest celebrity.” His over-the-top praise of the player reveals just how focused his mind really is on golf, even while faced with pressing issues of global policy.
Abe, on the occasion of Trump’s arrival in the country, presented him with white hats reading, “Donald and Shinzo Make Alliance Even Greater,” indicating, no doubt, that the Japanese PM knows how to get to our belligerent president.
Trump, before eating dinner with PM Abe in Tokyo, commented positively — meaning Abe gifting him with the hats worked.
‘Our relationship is really extraordinary. We like each other, and our countries like each other. And I don’t think we’ve ever been closer to Japan than we are right now.’
Trump and Abe have schmoozed in the past. Trump hosted the Japanese PM earlier this year at his Florida Mar-A-Lago resort, prompting a controversy over the security of Trump’s resort when North Korea tested a missile and the two leaders took to discussing the launch in the presence of private Mar-A-Lago members.
Besides addressing Trump’s golf addiction, Trump and Abe will discuss economic issues and — as in the case of their meeting earlier this year — the threat of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.
There is an apparent discrepancy between what the White House intends to focus upon and what the Japanese intend to focus upon; former assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell quipped to the Wall Street Journal that the Japanese had “successfully focused Mr. Trump on North Korea, and less on bilateral trade” ahead of the two leaders’ meetings.
As Campbell put it:
‘The primary focus will be on engagement between these two leaders and focus on the regional issues. But from the Japanese perspective they hope that the president won’t push too hard on specifics around a still-expanding trade imbalance between the U.S. and Japan.’
After Japan, Trump will be going to South Korea on Tuesday and then China after that, followed by the already mentioned multinational economic summits in Southeast Asia. There had been talk at one point of Trump skipping at least one of the two summits he’s set to attend.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is accompanying Trump to Asia, and ahead of his arrival in Japan, he explained to reporters the United States’ position of wanting to push other countries to help keep North Korea in check.
‘Japan is really in lockstep on this, so what we’ll do is ask those countries in turn to go and fan out and start pounding other countries in tandem with us so that is going to be a lot of what the conversations with individual leaders is going to be focused on.’
Tillerson and Trump have been at the center of one of many “palace intrigue” scandals to come out of the Trump Administration in recent months, which underscores an important fact — the president, though his incessant belligerence, has put the United States at a thorough disadvantage on the world stage.
Featured Image via Bloomberg/ Getty Images