Test of stam­ina

US pres­i­dent happy to re­port he’s hold­ing up fine af­ter 12-na­tion tour

The Star Malaysia - - World -

Trump’s Far East trip was gru­elling but the US pres­i­dent is happy to re­port he’s hold­ing up fine.

MANILA: Seventy-one-year-old Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is hold­ing up just fine as he nears the end of his gru­elling five-na­tion trip to Asia. And he wants you to know it.

“A lot of peo­ple said it’s al­most phys­i­cally im­pos­si­ble for some­one to go through 12 days,” Trump told re­porters aboard Air Force One dur­ing the sixth of his eight flights to, from and around Asia. He was happy to re­port he’s beaten the odds: “Any­body that took the bet, pick up your money, OK?”

Trump’s trip, the long­est Far East itin­er­ary for a pres­i­dent in a gen­er­a­tion, was seen as a test of stam­ina for a pres­i­dent with a strong aver­sion to long stretches away from his own bed. His age, com­bined with the de­mand­ing itin­er­ary – five coun­tries, three sum­mits and a long string of cer­e­monies, din­ners and meet­ings – had raised con­cerns Trump would grow grouchy and dis­tracted.

But aside from re­viv­ing ques­tions about Rus­sian elec­tion med­dling in the 2016 elec­tion and week­end tweets taunt­ing North Korea’s Kim Jong-un with school yard jabs, Trump has largely stayed on mes­sage and un­usu­ally en­gaged, ac­cord­ing to his trav­el­ling com­pan­ions.

The dan­gers of get­ting out of sync are leg­end: Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush vom­ited and fainted at a state din­ner in Tokyo in Jan­uary 1992.

Learn­ing from past mis­takes, the White House took steps to keep Trump re­laxed and com­fort­able.

Staffers made sure he was able to watch Amer­i­can cable news on the road and that he could tweet even in China, where Twit­ter is banned for lo­cals. They also worked to pro­vide Trump, a no­to­ri­ously picky eater, with ac­cept­able foods as he ran the gaunt­let of lo­cal cui­sine at state din­ners across Asia. They had help from Trump’s hosts.

For his first meal in Asia, Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe served Trump a ham­burger made with Amer­i­can beef. Chi­nese of­fi­cials told White House coun­ter­parts that at the state din­ner in Beijing, they’d served “west­ern­ised” ver­sions of tra­di­tional dishes. Ad­di­tion­ally, Trump tended to eat when­ever he was on board Air Force One, where he had full run of the kitchen. — AP

Happy trails: Trump salut­ing while ar­riv­ing to board Air Force One as he re­turns to the United States from Ni­noy Aquino International Air­port in Manila. — Reuters

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