NEW YORK (AP) — World leaders are learning to speak Donald Trump, offering big dollops of praise and echoing the president’s own language this week at the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
In a series of meetings with his foreign counterparts, Trump has seemed to delight in the fact that some of his favorite phrases have bounced back at him.
When South Korean President Moon Jae-in used the word “deplorable” Thursday to describe North Korea’s nuclear provocations, Trump’s eyebrows jumped. “I am very happy that you used the word ‘deplorable.’ I was very interested in that word,” Trump said to laughs from the room.
Trump’s opponent in last year’s election, Democrat Hillary Clinton, at one point said Trump’s supporters belonged in “a basket of deplorables.” Trump and his supporters quickly embraced the label.
Trump jokingly assured observers that he hadn’t instructed Moon to go that route.
“I promise I did not tell him to use that word,” Trump said, adding: “That’s been a very lucky word for me and many millions of people.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also sounded Trumpian when the two met in New York on Wednesday.
Abbas said their meeting underscored the seriousness with which Trump was working to achieve the “deal of the century in the Middle East.”
Trump, a former real estate developer and master marketer known to brag about his deal-making skills, has referred to a long-sought Mideast peace pact as the toughest deal of all.
Other world leaders showered Trump with praise as they worked to earn his trust and affection.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani thanked Trump on behalf of the people and government of Afghanistan for his “historic” decision to remain engaged in the country.
“You made this decision on the basis of courage and determination. We salute your courage,” Ghani said Thursday, adding: “It’s a difference of day and night.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu effusively praised the speech Trump delivered Tuesday to the General Assembly.
“Now you know, I’ve been ambassador to the U.N. and I’m a long-serving Israeli prime minister, so I’ve listened to countless speeches in this hall,” Netanyahu said. “But I can say this: None were bolder, none were more courageous and forthright than the one delivered by President Trump today.”