The Slatest

Is Anyone Surprised Trump Doesn’t Know the Difference Between Baltic States and the Balkans?

President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with three Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) in the East Room of the White House on April 3, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with three Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) in the East Room of the White House on April 3, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
OLIVIER DOULIERY/Getty Images

When President Donald Trump met with Dalia Grybauskaitė of Lithuania, Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia and Raimonds Vējonis of Latvia earlier this year, he started with a criticism. At the White House in April, Trump opened by chastising the Baltic leaders for starting the war in the 1990s that ended with the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. The Baltic leaders were apparently very confused and it took them “a moment” to realize that the commander in chief was confusing Baltic states with the Balkans, reported French newspaper Le Monde.

Although it’s hardly surprising world geography isn’t Trump’s strong suit, this case is particularly notable considering Melania Trump is originally from the Balkans. The first lady was born in Slovenia, which gained independence in 1991 at the start of the Balkan wars. As Le Monde wrote, Trump remained “apparently uneducated in the matter by his wife, Melania, originally from the former Yugoslavia.”