Politics - News Analysis

Here are 10 Times Trump Proved He Knows Absolutely Nothing About Geography

Despite President Donald Trump’s boasts of his “very, very large brain,” the commander-in-chief has repeatedly embarrassed himself with basic geographic blunders since taking office.

The president, who often attacked former President Obama for once mistakenly saying he visited “57 states” instead of 47 states and led a years-long baseless smear campaign alleging Obama was not born in the United States, has made many more geographic mistakes than his predecessors. He even often mistakes (or lies about) where his own father came from.

Here are just a few times that Trump proved he knows nothing about geography.

1. Congratulating Kansas For Chief Win

President Donald Trump celebrated the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl win by congratulating the state of Kansas, even though the Chiefs play in Kansas City, Missouri.

“Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs on a great game, and a fantastic comeback, under immense pressure. You represented the Great State of Kansas and, in fact, the entire USA, so very well. Our Country is PROUD OF YOU!” Trump wrote, even though Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hails from Kansas. He quickly deleted the tweet and replaced it with one congratulating Missouri.

2. Missiles “heading to Iraq”

Early in Trump’s presidency, the administration launched a missile attack on Syria over the country’s use of chemical weapons. Trump bragged about the strike in an interview with Fox Business, but got the country wrong.

“We’ve just fired 59 missiles, all of which hit by the way, unbelievable, from hundreds of miles away, it’s brilliant it’s genius, what we have in terms of technology no-one can come close to competing.
So I said, we’ve just launched 59 missiles, heading to Iraq,” he claimed.

“Heading to Syria?” the host interjected.

“Yes, heading toward Syria. And I want you to know that,” Trump replied.

3. Thinks United Kingdom and Great Britain are the same thing

Trump has failed to understand the difference between the United Kingdom and Great Britain for years despite close relations with America’s closest ally.

“I have great respect for the U.K., United Kingdom. Great respect. People call it Britain. They call it Great Britain. They used to call it England, different parts,” Trump educated his fans at a Pennsylvania rally in 2018.

He insisted to British host Piers Morgan that he knew the difference but others did not.

“You have different names – you can say ‘England’, you can say ‘UK’, you can say ‘United Kingdom’ so many different – you know you have, you have so many different names – Great Britain. I always say: ‘Which one do you prefer? Great Britain?’ You understand what I’m saying?” the president said.

“You know Great Britain and the United Kingdom aren’t exactly the same thing?” Morgan asked.

“Right, yeah. You know I know, but a lot of people don’t know that. But you have lots of different names,” Trump replied.

Narrator voice: He didn’t.

Trump again suggested that England is just an old timey way of saying United Kingdom during a joint press conference at the G7 summit in 2019.

“We have been with, I guess you would start off by saying ‘England,’ right?” Trump said. “I asked Boris, ‘Where’s England? What’s happening with England? They don’t use it too much anymore.’ We talked about it. It was very interesting.”

4. Nambia

Trump raised many eyebrows when he praised the nonexistent African country of Nambia for their health care.

“In Guinea and Nigeria, you fought a horrifying Ebola outbreak,” Trump told African leaders during a United Nations speech. “Nambia’s health system is increasingly self-sufficient.”

The White House later clarified that Trump was talking about the country of Namibia.

But Trump frequently botches the names of places that are prominently in the news. In 2018, Trump toured the fire wreckage in Paradise, California, where 85 people were killed in the blaze.

“And you’re watching from New York or you’re watching from Washington, D.C. and you don’t really see the gravity of it. I mean, as big as they look on the tube, you don’t see what’s going on until you come here,” Trump said. “And what we saw at Pleasure – what a name Pleasure – right now.”

Someone pointed out to Trump that it was “Paradise,” but moments later Trump against said, “we just left Pleasure.”

“Paradise!” someone in the crowd corrected him.

5. Nipple and Button

Politico reported in 2018 that Trump’s discussions with world leaders often go beyond “misconceptions, mispronunciations and awkward meetings.” But not during a 2017 meeting with India’s prime minister.

Looking at a map of South Asia, Trump mispronounced the name of Nepal as “nipple” and called Bhutan “button,” according to the report.

6. Doesn’t understand time zones

The same Politico report also revealed that Trump had to be reminded of time zone differences on a “constant basis” as he tried to call up world leaders at odd hours of the night.

Trump “wasn’t great with recognizing” that world leaders may be functioning on their own time.

At times, Trump “randomly” called leaders without any specific topics to discuss. He particularly wanted to talk to French President Emmanuel Macron “constantly.”

“Macron would be like: ‘Hey, what are we talking about?'” an official told Politico. “These are very busy people. You don’t just call to check in.”

7. “It’s not like you have China on your border”

The new book “A Very Stable Genius,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig quoted a former senior Trump adviser who concluded that the president is “at times dangerous uninformed.”

During one meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Trump declared,” it’s not like you’ve got China on your border,” even though India literally borders China.

“Modi’s eyes bulged out in surprise,” the authors wrote. “Modi’s expression gradually shifted, from shock and concern to resignation.”

A Trump aide told the reporters that Modi likely “left that meeting and said, ‘This is not a serious man. I cannot count on this man as a partner,’” adding that “‘the Indians took a step back’ in their diplomatic relations with the United States.”

8. Beautiful border wall in… Colorado

Trump claimed during a speech in Pennsylvania that he was building his long-promised border wall… hundreds of miles away from the Mexican border.

“You know why we’re going to win New Mexico? Because they want safety on their border. And they didn’t have it. And we’re building a wall on the border of New Mexico!” Trump said, before adding, “And we’re building a wall in Colorado. We’re building a beautiful wall, a big one that really works—you can’t get over, you can’t get under.”

9. Confused Baltic states with Balkans

Trump confused Baltic states with the Balkans during a meeting with the presidents of Estonia and Latvia in 2018, according to the French newspaper Le Monde, as he chastised the leaders for starting the 1990s war the led to the breakup of Yugoslavia. The leaders were confused, the paper reported, before realizing he had confused their states with the Balkans. The paper noted that Trump was “apparently uneducated in the matter by his wife, Melania, originally from the former Yugoslavia”.

10. Thinks Paris is in Germany

Trump tweeted about a shooting in Paris, and blamed Germany even though Paris is located in France.

“Man shot inside Paris police station. Just announced that terror threat is at highest level,”Trump wrote during his 2016 campaign. “Germany is a total mess-big crime. GET SMART!”

meet the author

Nicole James is a lifelong Democrat and political activist who first cut her teeth as a teenager volunteering for Mike Dukakis’ presidential campaign. She has worked and volunteered for John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, HFA (Hillary For America) and Organizing For Action. She’s passionate about liberal and progressive causes, and considers President Obama her most favorite president ever. She holds her Bachelor’s from Boston College and her Master’s from Columbia University, both in Economics. When not working as a writer, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her three college-aged children.


COMMENT POLICY: We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, hard-core profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment!