Trump meets with a senior Japanese official after court session in his hush money trial

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US Republican presidential candidate former president Donald Trump meets with former Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso at Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan in New York on April 23. (AP)

WASHINGTON (AP): Former US president Donald Trump is meeting with another foreign leader while he’s in New York for his criminal hush money trial.
The presumptive GOP nominee was hosting former Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, one of the country’s most influential politicians, at Trump Tower on Tuesday evening.
“He’s a highly respected man in Japan and beyond,” Trump told reporters as he greeted Aso in the Trump Tower lobby. “It’s a great honor to have him.”
Aso is just the latest foreign leader to spend time with Trump in recent weeks as US allies prepare for the possibility that he could win back the White House this November. Trump and Democratic President Joe Biden are locked in what is expected to be an extremely close rematch, even as Trump stands criminal trial in Manhattan and faces three additional criminal indictments.
“Leaders from around the world know that with President Trump we had a safer, more peaceful world,” said Trump spokesperson Brian Hughes in a statement. “Meetings and calls from world leaders reflect the recognition of what we already know here at home. Joe Biden is weak, and when President Trump is sworn in as the 47th President of the United States, the world will be more secure and America will be more prosperous.”
Trump met last week with Polish President Andrzej Duda at Trump Tower and also met recently with British Foreign Secretary David Cameron and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
Trump was close with Shinzo Abe, the former Japanese prime minister who was assassinated in 2022, and their relationship underscored the premium Trump puts on personal ties when it comes to foreign affairs.
Trump told reporters he’d gotten to know Aso “through our very dear friend, Shinzo,” whom he praised as “one of my favorite people in the world.”
“We loved Shinzo,” said Trump. “Shinzo was a great friend of mine. He was truly a great man and somebody that we all respected and we really loved. And I miss him greatly.”

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