I’m guessing this was not trumpeted all over the US news, but the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, met with Trump at the White House last week.
The meeting started off with a handshake. It’s clear from this video that Marcelo had undergone diplomatic training in how to deal with Trump’s infamous “grab and pull” handshake-disguised-as-dick-waving.
It seems the training went well.
This isn’t what made the Portuguese headlines, however. The big news here was Trump’s attempt at a joke and Marcelo’s withering reply.
It started when Marcelo commented that if Trump was going to be in Russia to meet Putin, he should attend the World Cup, where the greatest footballer in the world was playing.
Trump joked, “Could Cristiano run against you [for president]?”
“He wouldn’t win,” Marcelo replied instantly. “Portugal is not the US; it’s a little different.”
The Portuguese loved this. Because it’s true. Cristiano Ronaldo might be the most famous person in Portugal (and surely one of the wealthiest), but the Portuguese are not swayed by fame or wealth in their elections.
Not to mention that these days, most citizens of Europe are looking across the pond in utter horror. Having our president affirm that Portugal isn’t the US was a point of civic pride.
The exchange made headlines the next day:
Here’s another Marcelo story that I’m sure no one outside Portugal has heard: on his first day as President, he walked to work. He happened to live near the Palácio Belém (the Portuguese version of the White House), so why not?
No, Portugal is not the US. It’s a little different.