Does Akie Abe Speak English?

Yoshio Tsunoda/AFLO via ZUMA

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President Trump’s description of being seated next to Akie Abe at the G20 dinner is getting a lot of attention:

TRUMP: So, I was seated next to the wife of Prime Minister Abe [Shinzo Abe of Japan], who I think is a terrific guy, and she’s a terrific woman, but doesn’t speak English.

HABERMAN: Like, nothing, right? Like zero?

TRUMP: Like, not “hello.”

This immediately led to a video going viral that showed Akie giving a speech in English. So maybe she was just pretending she couldn’t speak English because she didn’t want to talk to Donald?

Two things about this. First, come on. There must be lots of people out there who know whether or not she speaks English. So does she or doesn’t she?

Second, after about two minutes perusing the internet, my conclusion is that Akie most likely speaks high school English. She can recite a speech in English if it’s necessary, though she plainly prefers not to, and can probably understand spoken English decently. But she doesn’t have enough confidence in her English to use it conversationally. So she relies on an interpreter in situations like the G20 dinner.

If anyone has any actual evidence about this, please let us all know.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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