'We want deal!': Trump fakes Asian accent to mock Chinese and Japanese businessmen at US rally

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 August, 2015, 6:36pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 March, 2016, 11:31pm

Just 24 hours after suggesting that Chinese President Xi Jinping deserved a McDonald's hamburger instead of a formal White House state dinner, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump took another jab at Asia – this time by mocking Chinese and Japanese “business styles”.

Trump, at a campaign rally in Dubuque, Iowa, attempted an impersonation – in broken English – of potential business partners who he says dispense with pleasantries and brashly demand an agreement.

READ MORE: 'I would get him a McDonald's hamburger': Trump says Xi Jinping shouldn't be given a state dinner when he visits Washington

“Negotiating with Japan, negotiating with China, when these people walk into the room, they don't say, ‘Oh hello, how’s the weather?’ So beautiful outside, isn't it lovely? ‘How are the Yankees doing?’ Oh they are doing wonderful, great.

“They say, ‘We want deal!’” he says, to laughter.

Trump’s anecdote – while mild compared his to past, widely criticised remarks on China, immigrants and women – caused a stir, and a few cringes, among observers and journalists following his campaign.

“‘We want deal.’ He might as well stick on a bamboo hat and hold [back the corners of] his eyes,” said one journalist on Twitter.

A Los Angeles film critic tweeted: “So Jeb and Trump are freely (strategically?) bad-mouthing Asians because we’re too small a group to care about alienating, right?”

Trump’s rival, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, had come under fire a day before for linking Asians to the term “anchor babies”. “Frankly, it's more Asian people,” the Florida governor said, clarifying that he was not only talking about Latinos.

Bush later said he was referring strictly to people “committing fraud” by engaging in birth tourism, in which foreign mothers come to America solely to give birth there so that their children can have US citizenship.

Reactions to Trump’s latest barb were mixed. Some social media users reported being offended by the offhand – and inaccurate – remark about the Chinese and Japanese way of doing business.

READ MORE: How Trump got Drumpf-ed — the truth behind John Oliver’s epic takedown of the Donald

It is a cultural faux-pas to dive right into discussion of a business deal in those cultures, according to reports in Forbes and Business Insider. Rather, Chinese and Japanese businessmen would prefer to take time to build trust by wining and dining first before talking about deals.

Although not many Chinese internet users picked up Trump’s controversial remark, those who did found it very offensive.

“I feel this guy is a racist. I would not want democracy if men like him are elected,” one blogger commented on popular Chinese microblog Weibo.  

Other reactions to Trump’s comments were more measured. “As an Asian guy, that is a realistic impression and is hardly offensive. I mimic southern hicks [in the US] all the time,” said one man on YouTube.

Another YouTube user said it was unbecoming of someone “who could potentially be a president of the United States”. “This would be appropriate if he were running for Last Comic Standing”, a stand-up comedy reality show, he said.

The incident also highlights the real estate tycoon’s diplomatic mettle, or lack of it. Trump has previously criticised China for alleged currency manipulation and allegedly stealing American jobs, although he has also said he admired the country.

As a businessman, Trump has yet to open a hotel in China or Japan, although interest in opening in Asia has been buzzing for years.

The company signed an agreement two days ago to develop in Bali, the first Trump Hotel Collection in Asia, according to Japan Today.

The Trump Organisation has also indicated interest in expanding hotels into China.

 Much of the imported goods including teddy bears and T-shirts sold at the New York Trump Store inside the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue are made in China.