Speed Reads

Circus Trumpsimus

Foreign leaders were reportedly told to praise Trump for winning the election

Foreign leaders who meet with President Trump this week during his first tour abroad since taking office have been encouraged to tailor their conversation to his personal preferences and knowledge base, The New York Times reports. The big three bullet points to remember: Praise him for winning; don't talk history; and keep it brief.

After four months of interactions between Mr. Trump and his counterparts, foreign officials and their Washington consultants say certain rules have emerged: Keep it short — no 30-minute monologue for a 30-second attention span. Do not assume he knows the history of the country or its major points of contention. Compliment him on his Electoral College victory. Contrast him favorably with President Barack Obama. Do not get hung up on whatever was said during the campaign. Stay in regular touch. Do not go in with a shopping list but bring some sort of deal he can call a victory. [The New York Times]

Leaders and diplomats who do not speak English must cut their comments especially short, said Peter Westmacott, former British ambassador to the United States. Trump is "a guy with a limited attention span," Westmacott told the Times. "He absolutely won't want to listen to visitors droning on for a half-hour — or longer if they need an interpreter."

Trump is scheduled to make stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy, Belgium, and the Vatican. Pope Francis, with whom Trump will meet for the first time, learned English as an adult and is not confident in his mastery of the language, so he often uses a translator.