It seems it’s not a Donald Trump press conference unless everyone walks away completely confused.
Trump held a joint presser with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Tuesday afternoon, where he spent the entire time calling the visiting world leader the “president of Spain” instead of “prime minister.”
“Good afternoon I’m greatly honored to welcome President Mariano Rajoy…of Spain…and it’s a great honor to have you at the White House” Trump said in a somewhat quizzical voice.
Considering there’s a significant difference between the two roles, people were a bit confused — possibly even Rajoy himself, who appeared to whip his head around after first hearing Trump address him.
He continued to call Rajoy “president” the entire conference, despite hearing others refer to him as prime minister — and even addressed him as “Mr. President” at one point.
The White House also referred to Rajoy as president in an official tweet announcing the press conference, which further emphasized the incorrect title.
After noticing Trump said president instead of prime minister — not to mention how off-guard Rajoy looked upon hearing it — people immediately began calling him out on Twitter.
Though Trump got a significant amount of backlash after the press conference, past statements on the White House website — such as this one from 2015 — have referred to Rajoy as the “Spanish President.” A Google search for “President of Spain” also brings up Rajoy’s name, though a description clarifies he’s the president of the government and that calling him the Spanish President is “misleading.”
So while Trump’s not totally wrong, Rajoy is commonly and most correctly referred to as Prime Minister. Just imagine how Trump would feel if Rajoy called him Prime Minister Trump?
It’s also worth noting that in Obama’s 2016 joint remarks with Rajoy, he consistently called him Prime Minister, beginning by stating:
Well, let me begin by thanking Prime Minister Rajoy and his team and the Spanish people for welcoming us. It has been an extraordinarily gracious and warm welcome, particularly given the tough situation that we’ve had at home and my need to rearrange my schedule.