As Trump began a press conference at the White House to mark the signing of a US-Japan trade deal, he started by honoring Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“I want to start by wishing my very good friend Prime Minister Abe of Japan a very happy birthday — he’s 39 years old today,” Trump said, prompting laughter from the crowd.
“So please extend my wishes to the Prime Minister — he’s a great gentleman and we have had tremendous success.”
Abe turned 65 on September 21 — over two weeks before the press conference.
So while Trump’s comments about Abe’s age were clearly a joke, it wasn’t clear why he chose Monday to offer his birthday well wishes.
Trump made the comments, which have been widely covered in Japanese media, as he marked the signing of a new US-Japan trade agreement and the US-Japan digital trade agreement.
“These two deals represent a tremendous victory for both our nations,” Trump said.