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