During president Trump’s recent visit to Japan, he was invited to feed the koi at the Akasaka Palace, one of the two State Guesthouses of the Government of Japan. The prized fish have been viewed by a succession of world leaders including Margaret Thatcher. This seemingly innocuous aspect of the President’s trip sparked a media storm when images and video emerged which showed him dumping his entire box of fish food into the pond!
Recriminations were swift! Donald Trump was accused of suffering from a bade case of impatience and of endangering the health of the fish. The images went viral and experts rushed to point out that koi should not be overfed. Trump found himself at the centre of a controversy – yet again!
Five Nation Tour
The infamous incident took place on the President’s five-nation tour of Asia and was quickly branded the “Trump Dump”. The President’s apparent impatience was perceived to be embarrassing and offensive to his hosts but, as with so many things, it soon emerged that the all was not quite as it seemed.
Trump was accompanied to the palace by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The full-length footage of their time at the koi pond revealed that Donald Trump was merely following Abe’s lead in dumping the fish food so unceremoniously into the water. The two men can be seen spooning out the food before Abe turned over his box to tip out what remained and Trump did the same.
Abe can be seen grinning, as is a woman in a kimono standing to one side of the leaders. Next to her, Rex Tillerson, clearly grateful for a moment of comic relief after being named in the Paradise Papers, was seen laughing by witnesses. Nobody seemed offended.
Updates and Retractions
Having castigated Trump for what appeared to be a giant faux-pas, many columnists then printed updates to their articles and, in some cases, even retractions.
President Obama was also dragged into the “Koi-gate” controversy as some Twitter users claimed that he was somehow more adept at feeding fish that Donald Trump. A picture of President Obama feeding koi had been taken in 2016 when he visited Vietnam. He didn’t dump all of his food into the pond but Vietnam’s National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, who was with him, clearly did!
So, “koi-gate” wasn’t really a scandal after all! The knives are out for Trump and almost everything that he does seems to land him trouble. The images which were initially published had been carefully chosen and did not tell the whole story. Nothing new there!
- Header image: Trump International Hotel Las Vegas, Las Vegas, United States by NeONBRAND on Unsplash [Unsplash License]