President Donald Trump in the Blue Room of the White House, Washington, July 2017. Photo: Times.

Trump struggled to read the US Constitution


America“This is like a foreign language,” Trump said frustratingly, stumbling over while reading the US Constitution to film a documentary in March 2017.

Six weeks after taking the oath, US President Donald Trump welcomed the HBO documentary crew to the White House. The film, titled The Words That Built America, is directed by Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

According to Alexandra Pelosi, the United States witnessed many divisions after the 2016 presidential election, but she believes the Constitution retains the power to unify the country. As a result, she and the film crew came up with the idea of ​​filming the scene where six presidents and six vice presidents would participate in reading the US Constitution, while politicians and actors read the human rights and independence declarations of country.

The footage will then be edited and assembled into a vivid and full documentary of the precious documents that have sustained American solidarity for more than two centuries.

President Donald Trump at the Blue Room of the White House in July 2017. Image: Times.

On March 1, 2017, Pelosi and his crew went to the White House and got ready for the filming in the Blue Room. When he entered the room, Trump did not seem very natural and comfortable. Although he was the host, he did not go to the film crew, but waited for them to come towards him, the authors Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig wrote in “A very stable genius” published on 1/21.

Pelosi stepped forward to thank President Trump for participating in this special historical project, but he did not seem to know who she was. Trump then asked to bring water out, but no employee brought it to him. Pelosi had to take a bottle of water from a bag to give to him.

“I have been to the White House and there has always been a lot of etiquette,” Pelosi said of past meetings with American presidents. “But I don’t see any rules this time. Something’s not right. I think no one is in charge of the president’s eating?”

Meanwhile, a White House staff member instructs crew members about what they are and are not allowed to work with the President. The first rule is for the make-up artist: don’t touch the President’s hair and only lightly brush his face.

The next rule is for the technical team to adjust the light to get a little more orange light, because Trump prefers images with warm colors. The choice of orange tones made many people present in the room feel strange.

Pelosi lets presidents and vice presidents select the passage of the Constitution they want to read, largely avoiding the section on dismissal or payroll.

Trump chose the opening paragraph of Article II of the Constitution to talk about presidential elections and the US president’s sphere of power. When Trump sat down, Pelosi said: “You are lucky to have chosen this part, the next part will be much harder.”

But when he read that Constitution, Trump repeatedly stumbled upon trying to pronounce every word of a paragraph drafted by the Founding Fathers of America. This irritated Trump.

“The words in here are really hard to read. It’s hard to read this whole paragraph without stumbling. It’s like being written in another language, right?”, Trump told the crew members.

The cameraman tried to calm Trump down by saying that there was no big problem and asked the President to relax a little bit and start over. Trump tried again and continued to complain, “It’s like a foreign language”.

President Trump gave an interview in the Blue Room room in the White House in January 2017. Photo: ABC News.

President Trump gave an interview at the Blue Room at the White House in January 2017. Image: ABC News.

Like many other parts of the constitution, President Trump’s paragraphs confuse readers a bit because many of the words in it are no longer commonly used. The crew members looked at each other silently, some worried.

After repeatedly stumbling, Trump became annoyed and then angry. He said that the crew members made him distract. “Your pile of papers is making a noise. This has been very difficult,” Trump said.

“Every time he stumbled, he looked for excuses to blame everyone. He never said ‘Sorry, I made a mistake’,” one person present recalled. Even so, Trump finally finished his reading without making a mistake.

Trump’s struggles are clearly contrasted with the other people involved in the documentary. US Supreme Court Judge Stephen Breyer read the paragraph coherently as if he memorized the entire Constitution. Senator Ted Cruz also reads fluently from start to finish because he “knows the Constitution from beginning to end”.

Pelosi said that Trump seemed to be overconfident and not practicing before reading the Constitution paragraph in front of the camera, making his efforts difficult.

“I did not anticipate this and I was sorry for him. When Vice President Pence or former Vice President Cheney read the text, I understood that they grasped the Constitution,” one of the people present at the filming said. .

Thanh Tam (Follow Vanity Fair)

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