During a heated meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, US President Donald Trump has reportedly made a false claim to remember Pearl Harbor, a deadly Japanese attack on a US naval base, which gave Washington the pretext to enter World War II.
The Washington Post said in a report on Tuesday that Trump had caught the Japanese premier off guard in his June visit to the White House by invoking the 1941 attack on US forces stationed in Hawaii.
Trump told Abe that “I remember Pearl Harbor,” referring to the attack that brought the US into the Second World War, which concluded before Trump was born in 1946.
The Post reported that the Japanese prime minister was "exasperated" by the remark.
“The meeting, which left Abe exasperated, epitomized the paradoxical nature of Trump’s closest relationship with a foreign leader,” the Washington Post said.
A Japanese diplomat told the newspaper that he was unsure why the US president brought up Pearl Harbor, but said Trump had previously mentioned Japan's "samurai past."
The businessman-turned-politician has previously been confused about his own date of birth.
The US president’s protestation in Abe’s meeting was said to be part of “a blistering critique of Japan’s economic policies,” which complained about US trade deficit with Japan.
The two leaders met after Trump had imposed steep steel and aluminum tariffs on Japan and other US allies, and just days before he traveled to Singapore to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.