President Trump reportedly invoked the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor during a heated meeting earlier this year with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
“I remember Pearl Harbor,” Trump, who was born in 1946, 4 1/2 years after the attack, reportedly said before railing against Japan’s economic policies.
The Post reported that Abe was “exasperated” by Trump’s comments during a June 7 meeting:
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.
Another diplomat said that he could not explain Trump’s Pearl Harbor reference but added that the president relishes historical references and frequently brings up Japan’s “samurai past.”
The two leaders met after Trump had imposed steep steel and aluminum tariffs on Japan and other U.S. allies, and just days before the U.S. president traveled to Singapore to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.