the national interest

Trump Continues to Be Stunned by How Many Countries There Are

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times/Pool/Getty Images

In his remarks to reporters today, before preposterously asserting that his proposals for wild new coronavirus treatments were an elaborate deadpan practical joke on the media, President Trump revealed a conversation with an unidentified friend. This friend “a very sophisticated man,” Trump noted — was unaware that there are more than 184 countries in the world, and thought there are far fewer:

Trump is graciously preserving the identity of this sophisticated friend, no doubt to spare him embarrassment. However, a little bit of sleuthing can help us suss out his identity.

One clue can be found in Trump’s March 29 coronavirus briefing, when he had a short riff on the surprisingly large number of countries here on Earth:

It’s up to 151 countries, so when we say our nation, our nation and the world, when you think. Think of it, 151 countries. Somebody said to me today that wasn’t in this particular world, they didn’t know that we had that many countries. 151 countries, that’s something.

Another clue is that, on a 2017 visit to Japan, Trump regaled his audience with the experience of contacting foreign leaders after his election, saying, “I never knew there were so many countries.”

I think we know who this anonymous, geographically ignorant man was.

Trump Once Again Stunned by How Many Countries There Are