Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first meeting with Donald Trump last month at the US president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida was largely overshadowed by a sudden US missile strike on a Syrian airfield — or as Trump’s cabinet apparently likes to call it, a light form of “entertainment.”
While speaking to global elites assembled in Beverly Hills on Monday for the Milken Institute Global Conference, Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recalled that historic moment.
“Just as dessert was being served, the president explained to Mr. Xi he had something he wanted to tell him, which was the launching of 59 missiles into Syria,” Ross said. “It was in lieu of after-dinner entertainment.”
With the audience roaring in laughter, Ross added: “The thing was, it didn’t cost the president anything to have that entertainment.”
Which is something of an odd statement from a commerce secretary, considering that the strike is estimated to have cost the US Navy as much as $93 million with each Tomahawk missile priced at $1.59 million.
Last month, Trump gave his own recollection of the moment to a giddy Fox Business reporter, vividly recalling “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake” that the two leaders were served before he broke the news to Xi. Though later during his trip down memory lane, Trump appeared to forget which country he bombed.
Along with the bombing of another country, Xi was also kept entertained before dinner at Mar-a-Lago by Trump’s grandchildren who serenaded him with a Chinese folk song.
We can’t wait to see what sort of entertainment Xi has lined up for Trump’s trip to Beijing which is planned for sometime later this year.
Follow Shanghaiist on WeChat