Trump meets w/ the leader of Panama, says “we did a good job building” the Panama Canal—a structure that’s been around for 100+ years ago. pic.twitter.com/uUBJKVDjAP
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 19, 2017
Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump hosted Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela and his wife, Lorena Castillo de Varela during a photo op at the White House on Monday. Meetings such as this are commonplace, especially in the media-engorged Trump administration, but comments made by the current U.S. president rubbed viewers — and possibly Varela himself — the wrong way. That’s because Trump spent a whopping 39 seconds introducing the Panamanian president and his wife while randomly commenting on the Panama Canal, which America “did a good job building.”
“It’s our great honor to have President and Mrs. Varela from Panama. We have many things to discuss. We’re going to spend quite a bit of time today,” Trump began before inadvertently segueing into his Panama Canal comments. “The Panama Canal is doing quite well, I think we did a good job building it. Right? Very good job.” Varela simply smiled and nodded throughout Trump’s bit, but that didn’t stop Politico and countless other outlets from fact-checking the latter in real time.
Obviously, just because Trump said “we did a good job building [it]” directly to Varela doesn’t mean the president actually thinks he is in any way responsible for constructing a structure overseen by President Theodore Roosevelt and completed in 1914. Yet that didn’t stop journalists, politicos, pundits and the like on Twitter from ridiculing him for his characteristically off-the-wall statement.