In a stunning development, President Trump was heckled today during his speech in Vietnam to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. In his speech Trump said, “For many years, the United States systematically opened our economy with few conditions. We lowered or ended tariffs, reduced trade barriers, and allowed foreign goods to flow freely into our country. But while we lowered market barriers, other countries didn’t open their markets to us.” As Trump was saying this, a man in the audience laughed loudly and Trump called the man out on his behavior in front of everyone.
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According to Lifezette:
Trump stopped his speech for a moment to turn to a person seated in the audience who had laughed as he said this, and raised his arm to call attention to the laughter. “Funny,” he said, looking at the unidentified person. A sound of a few people clapping was heard at this acknowledgement. “They must have been one of the beneficiaries,” Trump said, with more clapping following this. “What country do you come from, sir?” the president asked pointedly, but then moved on quickly with his speech.
This is not the first time a speech of President Trump’s has led to fits of uninvited laughter in the audience. In May when President Trump addressed European leaders at a NATO meeting in Brussels, Belgium, there were also fits of laughter. According to Lifezette:
As Trump was exhorting European nations to contribute a fair share toward their own defense and toward the collective defense of Europe, the camera panned to show three French-speaking leaders whispering and giggling to one another. Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel had one hand over his mouth, as a schoolboy does to disguise the fact that his lips were moving, making comments to the Belgian prime minister, Charles Michel, who stood behind him, with French President Emmanuel Macron listening in and snickering.
What is the greater loss of dignity – having a President whose speeches draw unintended laughter or having a President who responds to hecklers?