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(WATCH): Reporters and Negotiators Laugh at Trump’s Inability to Understand Trade Terms



Anyone who becomes president is, at times, going to be unfamiliar with specific terminology. Most of the times, they admit they don’t know the term, learn it and move on.

President Donald Trump speaking at a podium.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia

Donald Trump, however, does not like to admit when he doesn’t know something. Unfortunately for the president, he had one of these moments during a meeting with reporters and trade representatives present.

A reporter asked the president about memorandums of understanding. Trump responded,”I don’t like MOUs because they don’t mean anything.”

Key US trade negotiator, Robert Lightizer, calmly explained to the president, “An MOU is a contract. It’s the way trade agreements are generally [established]. It’s an actual contract between the two parties. A memo of understanding is a binding agreement.”

This wasn’t good enough for Trump who said, “I disagree.” At this point, Chinese Premiere Liu He began to laugh. The president continued, “A memorandum of understanding is exactly that: It’s a memorandum of what our understanding is. How long will that take to put into a … contract?”

Lightizer came to Trump’s rescue, declaring, “From now on we’re not using ‘memorandum of understanding’ anymore.” At this moment, several people began to laugh. He continued, “We’re going to use the term ‘trade agreement.’ We’ll have the same document; it’s going to be called a trade agreement. We’re never going to have an MOU again.”

See video of the moment here: