Speed Reads

a gentleman and a scholar

At Japanese state banquet, Trump recalls being surprised by the number of countries in the world

On Monday, President Trump told a gathering of Japanese officials at a state banquet that after he won last year's election, he was amazed to find out how many countries existed in the world.

Trump began his speech by extolling the virtues of golf diplomacy and talking at length about a U.S. Open tournament in 1980 in which Japanese golfer Isao Aoki and American Jack Nicklaus put on "one of the greatest putting displays anyone has ever seen." Trump then recounted the beginnings of his relationship with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which he said "got off to quite a rocky start."

"I never ran, so I wasn't very experienced," Trump told the guests, explaining how he was unfamiliar with the conventions of public office. "And after I had won, everybody was calling me from all over the world. I never knew we had so many countries."

The president paused so an interpreter could relay his remarks, then continued to say that despite the fact that "you can only take so many calls from world leaders," he accepted Abe's call. Watch the full speech below, courtesy of the White House's official YouTube channel. Kelly O'Meara Morales