Donald Trump Honors Friend Shinzo Abe: ‘A Truly Great Man and Leader’

U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister, pose for p
Kimimasa Mayama/Pool via Bloomberg

Former U.S. President Donald Trump publicly honored ex-Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday morning, saluting their long friendship in the hours leading up to the late leader’s death.

Trump described his shock at the shooting which later claimed Abe’s life, as Breitbart News reported.

“Absolutely devastating news that former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, a truly great man and leader, has been shot, and is in very serious condition,” Trump said in a statement.

“He was a true friend of mine and, much more importantly, America. This is a tremendous blow to the wonderful people of Japan, who loved and admired him so much. We are all praying for Shinzo and his beautiful family!

Trump and Abe met several times while both men were in office and kept up the key alliance between Japan and the U.S. in the face of increasing regional activity by China.

File/Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) looks over at U.S. President Donald Trump during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Biarritz, south-west France on August 25, 2019, on the second day of the annual G7 Summit. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

In August 2020,Trump called Abe the greatest prime minister in Japanese history during a call between the two leaders, days after the Japanese premier said he was stepping down for health reasons.

The two men spoke at length, and Trump told Abe he had done a “fantastic job” and that the relationship between their two countries was stronger than it has ever been, White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement as reported by Reuters.

“The President called Prime Minister Abe the greatest prime minister in Japan’s history,” Deere said.

The history of friendship between the two goes back much further than that.

The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSCIS) reported in 2020 how the two men regarded each other as the closest of political and personal confidants.

File/U.S. President Donald Trump (L) holds up a hat with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) during a luncheon at the Kasumigaseki Country Club Golf Course in Kawagoe, Saitama, outside Tokyo on November 5, 2017. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Hannah Fodale, Associate Fellow, Japan Chair, wrote their closeness led to stronger decision making:

Compared to other world leaders, Abe been able to use his personal relationship with Trump to advocate for Japanese interests on various issues such as North Korea and trade, though some question the extent to which the two leaders are aligned on these and other strategic challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.


No foreign leader has closer ties with President Donald Trump than Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Since the 2016 presidential election, the two leaders have met 20 times, played 5 rounds of golf, and had 32 phone calls, at times speaking twice a week.[1] Abe’s efforts to develop a close relationship with Trump have advanced Japanese interests in four fundamental ways.

The piece went on to outline how friendship and diplomacy can deliver dividends for all sides, noting “No leader of an industrialized nation has worked harder to appeal personally to and accommodate the policies of President Trump than Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“The end result has been stability: Tokyo has been able to avert coming under attack from the White House, and economic as well as security relations between the two countries has been maintained despite the unpredictable policies of the Trump administration. ”

When the two were not negotiating, there was always the golf course.

As Breitbart News reported, Abe arrived at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida in 2020 for two days of meetings with the then president. Much of what was later to take place unfolded on the greens and fairways of the resort just as it had in years past.

File/U.S. President Donald Trump (2nd L) and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) enjoy playing golf in Florida on February 11, 2017. (JIJI PRESS/JIJI PRESS/AFP via Getty Images)

Ultimately, as the CSIS article outlined, no leader of an industrialized nation worked harder to appeal personally to and accommodate the policies of Trump than Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The end result was stability for both nations and the preservation of a bilateral relationship that remains to this day.

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