Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Politics

President Trump, Japan's Abe share high-five on Florida golf course (w/video)

JUPITER — President Donald Trump has long boasted about his prowess on the golf course. Now he's putting his game to work.

The president spent a good part of his Saturday golfing with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he hosts his first foreign leader at his winter estate in Palm Beach.

After a rocky diplomatic start that included contentious phone calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia, the friendly weekend of meetings, dinners and golf suggests the new president is willing to invest time in developing close personal relationships with leaders he feels he can work with.

The president and first lady Melania Trump hosted a delegation dinner with the Abes on Saturday night at his Mar-a-Lago estate. Trump said the Abe visit had been "very very good" and that he and the Japanese leader "got to know each other very, very well" over their two days of meals, meetings and golfing.

Trump and Abe, both frequent golfers, left Mar-a-Lago early Saturday morning and headed north to one of Trump's golf courses in Jupiter. Reporters and photographers from both countries did not catch a glimpse of the pair as they played. But Trump later posted a photo of them giving each other a high-five on the golf course and tweeted, "Having a great time hosting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the United States!"

He also tweeted that they'd been joined by pro golfer Ernie Els.

Abe had joked at a joint press conference at the White House on Friday that he was looking forward to playing golf with Trump, even though, he claimed, he's not nearly as good on the links.

He said he planned to use the time to discuss the future of the world, the Pacific region and U.S.-Japanese relations.

In a sign of unity, neither Japanese nor White House officials volunteered the pair's final score.

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