Donald Trump, the U.S. President-elect was scheduled to have his first meeting with a foreign leader, Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister. However, just a day before the meeting was to be held, it was stated by Japanese officials that it wasn’t finalized as to where and when the meeting would take place in New York. In addition, they were not aware of who was invited and had no idea whom to get in touch with in order to get some answers. This confusion regarding the talks is just a small hint of the difficulties that are expected to surface in turning Trump into a sitting president from a freewheeling businessman.
His inauguration is on January 20th, which means that he has to have a watertight schedule as well as a properly functioning administration by then. On Wednesday, the U.S. and Japanese state officials said that the meeting had not been planned by the State Department. Therefore, the protocol and logistical details, which are usually planned in advance, were yet to be determined. One Japanese official said that there was a lot of confusion surrounding the meeting. It had only been agreed in the previous week. In the meanwhile, Trump has been busy with his advisers at Trump Tower in Manhattan.
Meetings are being held to choose the right people for specific jobs in the administration. It is common for loosely planned bilateral meetings to be held amongst world leaders at regional summits. But, it is rather unusual for foreign leaders to decide to hold high-level diplomatic talks in the US without planning them in advance. Abe is on his way to Peru for attending an Asia-Pacific conference. John Kirby, the spokesman for the State Department, said that to his knowledge, the department had not been contacted by Trump’s transition team.
He said that they had not gotten in touch for discussion the government transition process and nor had they had asked for any information before his meeting with foreign leaders. Advisers to the New York billionaire said that Trump is going to use his meeting with Abe to reassure Japan and other Asian allies as his campaign rhetoric has rattled them considerably. However, Abe is coming in as a veteran lawmaker where Trump is a brash outsider lacking in any government or diplomatic experience. They both have differences in opinion regarding policy issues like free trade.
Chris Christie, the New Jersey Governor was the head of the team overseeing Trump’s transition, but was fired in the previous week. Since then, there has been intense speculation about the top appointments made in the Trump administration. On Wednesday, the President-elect denied all reports about disorganization within his team and even called out the New York Times for reporting that world leaders had had difficulty in getting in touch with him. On Twitter, he listed several world leaders he had spoken to since he had emerged victorious in the presidential elections on November 8th. He said that he had spoken to leaders from China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Japan and the UK.