The world was shocked this week when it was announced that Japan’s prime minister has been assassinated.
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The 45th President of the United States addressed the assassination on his Truth Social platform on Friday.
“Really BAD NEWS FOR THE WORLD! Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is dead. He was assassinated. His killer was captured and will hopefully be dealt with swiftly and harshly. Few people know what a great man and leader Shinzo Abe was, but history will teach them and be kind. He was a unifier like no other, but above all, he was a man who loved and cherished his magnificent country, Japan. Shinzo Abe will be greatly missed. There will never be another like him! —President Donald J. Trump,”
Trump then made more extended comments during an exclusive interview backstage after an event he hosted with the GOP nominees for U.S. Senate and for governor here in Nevada, former Attorney General Adam Laxalt and Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, Breitbart reports.
Trump spoke for close to an hour to a packed ballroom at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip Friday night after Laxalt, Lombardo, and several local and national law enforcement personnel hosted a law-and-order-focused panel.
Trump and Abe were the closest of friends during Trump’s time in the White House and Abe’s time as Prime Minister, Breitbart continued.
Perhaps there was no other world leader with whom Trump was as close, as the two shared dozens of phone calls, several visits to each other’s countries, and even played golf several times together.
Abe was, as Trump said, one of the first foreign leaders to recognize his win after he shocked the world in 2016 and defeated former Secretary of State Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton—an important step for Trump when he took the White House in early 2017.
“He was a great man,” Trump told Breitbart News of Abe. “He was a great leader. He loved his country and he loved our country. We did incredible deals together. We made a new deal with Japan. Japan had a one-sided deal and he brought back some fairness because we had just a terrible group of trade deals with Japan. We renegotiated it. But he was a real friend of mine. He really was a distinguished, incredible person. What a disaster that is for this world. He was a true world leader and everybody respected him. We’d go to the G7 and everybody respected Shinzo. That this can happen is just horrible.”
The loss of Abe definitely leaves a hole in the Indo-Pacific, an important geopolitical theater in which the United States is competing with China as an increasingly powerful Chinese Communist Party continues to gain regional control, Breitbart writes.
A key part of the U.S. strategy under Trump to countering a rising China was a strong Japan—and a strong U.S.-Japan relationship—and Trump told Breitbart News he is not worried that Japan will become weak because he said its current leaders came to power with Abe’s support.
“We have some very good leaders now in Japan who really were put in place to a certain extent by Shinzo,” Trump said. “You know, Shinzo gave the blessing to your leaders right now. But to lose him is very hard to ever make up. He was really unique.”
During his remarks at the top of his speech, Trump also called for a “steep price” to be paid by the gunman who killed Abe, Breitbart continues.
“Before we begin, I’d like to profess my profound condolences to the family of a great, great man—Shinzo Abe,” Trump said. “He was an amazing leader. I knew him well—tough negotiator…. This was a man of tremendous moral courage and was a fantastic person. Prime Minister Abe was a friend of mine, an ally, and an incredible patriot. He was a tireless champion for peace and for freedom and for the priceless bond between the United States and Japan, and his assassination is not only a grievous atrocity, it is a devastating loss for the entire world. We will miss him greatly. And this being a speech about law and order, I hope the man who committed this crime will pay a steep price for the greatness he has taken from our planet.”
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Breitbart News asked the former president if he is considering attending Abe’s funeral, and Trump responded that he is communicating with Abe’s family about the matter.
“We’re going to see how it goes,” Trump said when asked if he would attend Abe’s funeral. “We’re talking to their family. We love the family. His wife is a phenomenal woman. He is so loved in Japan I can imagine that is going to be an incredible celebration of life. He was just very special. Every aspect of that man was just very special. You know he was the first person I saw? Do you remember he came early? He came right after the election—he was the first person I saw. But we had a special relationship. We’re going to see about that, we’re talking about that right now.”