Usually, “Veep” imitates real-life politics, not the other way around. But Japanese first lady Akie Abe may have pretended not to speak English to avoid conversing with President Trump — just as a character on the HBO show faked an inability to speak English to avoid ex-President Selina Meyer.
On Wednesday, Trump recounted his early-July run-in with the wife of Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, to the New York Times. Trump was seated next to her at a dinner following a political conference in Germany. Trump told the Times that when he tried to speak to her, he found that she couldn’t speak English. “Like, not [even] ‘hello,'” he said.
As Newsweek points out, it’s likely that First Lady Abe actually can speak English. Three years ago, she delivered the keynote address at a R3ADY Asia-Pacific symposium…in English. Newsweek also says that New York Times’ Tokyo bureau chief, Motoko Rich, tweeted Wednesday that Trump’s claim that the Japanese First Lady didn’t know English was “a false note.”
On the latest season of “Veep,” the president of China either can or can’t speak English, depending on whether he wants to interact with Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus).
Intentionally or not, Abe became Twitter’s heroine of the day.
Akie Abe (Japan’s First Lady) is the real MVP. Pretended not to speak English to avoid talking to Toupee Fiasco pic.twitter.com/Wohq4518GL
— Hercules Mulligan (@johnvmoore) July 20, 2017
Awesome! Akie Abe hates Trump so much she pretended she couldn't speak English. For hours. https://t.co/A2LH0YiiJq
— Mark Elliott (@markmobility) July 20, 2017
Trump inaccurately complains about Akie Abe's lack of English. But majority of foreign leaders he meets seem far more fluent than him
— Ishaan Tharoor (@ishaantharoor) July 20, 2017
The first lady of Japan Akie Abe pretended not to speak English whilst sat beside Trump. ???????????? pic.twitter.com/hCK3uQVTPX
— Love Island Pikachu (@marcauxpolo) July 20, 2017