Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States on Thursday seemed to have gone smoothly after all, with a well-behaved Donald Trump acting cordial throughout the landmark meeting between the two heads of state.
Xi also visited the U.S. two years ago, and Barack Obama’s red-carpet welcome was highly assailed by Trump. The former reality show star famously claimed that he would have offered a Big Mac instead of a state dinner to the leader of the country which he said was “raping” the U.S. economy. He said it was better to “just take them to McDonald’s and go back to the negotiating table”.
Who would have expected that after a series of Twitter attacks and harsh pronouncements on interviews against China, Trump would share a candle-lit steak dinner with Xi at the Mar-a-Lago resort, and even speak of having “developed a friendship”?
And instead of McDonald’s burgers, the menu for dinner consisted of Caesar salad, a choice between Dover sole or New York steak, and chocolate cake or sorbet as dessert.
Trump only mouthed pleasantries and praises for Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan.
“It is a great honor to have the president of China and his incredibly talented wife – a great, great celebrity in China and a great singer … in the United States,” Trump announced to the guests.
“We’ve had a long discussion already and so far I have gotten nothing, absolutely nothing,” he jokingly said. “But we have developed a friendship – I can see that – and I think in the long term we’re going to have a very, very great relationship and I look very much forward to it.”
“I can see Xi and Peng were received in a very cordial way. Trump is very hospitable and friendly,” said Lu Peixin, the Chinese official in charge of protocol.
Xi and Trump sat next to each other while their first ladies sat by their sides. Trump’s son-in-law and top White House adviser, Jared Kushner, sat between his wife Ivanka Trump and the Chinese first lady.
Earlier, their children, Arabella, 5, and Joseph, 3, performed Chinese the folk song “Jasmine Flower” and recited Chinese poetry in front of the Chinese first couple.