In this tweet, done under the Twitter handle @realDonaldTrump but apparently by a staffer, Trump referred to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe by his given name, not his surname:

Heading to Joint Base Andrews on #MarineOne with Prime Minister Shinzō earlier today.

There's speculation that Abe was referred to by his given name because Trump or his staff got the Japanese name order wrong (in Japanese, at least for Japanese people, it's surname then given name, unlike in English).

However, I'm wondering if Trump has a tendency to use given names. Has Trump, or his staff, previously referred to major political figures by their given name, rather than by their surname?

  • Does full name count? Feb 11, 2017 at 4:03
  • Maybe he thought that Abe was short for Abraham.
    – phoog
    Feb 11, 2017 at 6:17
  • He did manage to get his name right during the joint press conference and addressed him as Prime Minister Abe. YouTube link
    – Panda
    Feb 12, 2017 at 3:29

1 Answer 1


Apparently not.

He refers to:

Russian President as Putin, or Vladimir Putin.

German Chancellor as Angela Merkel.

Mexican President as Enrique Pena Nieto or Pena Nieto.

Chinese President as Xi, Mr. Xi. or Xi Jinping. (Xi is his surname)

British Prime Minister as Theresa May.

Former Canadian Prime Minister as Harper

The Japanese Prime Minister seems to be the only one who he got the name wrong.

  • Kinda hard to prove a negative, but a few more searches I would suggest: Justin Trudeau, Theresa May, Stephen Harper, Enrique Nieto, Felipe Calderon Feb 11, 2017 at 4:06

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