German-descended Donald Trump fails to understand question in his native language

A US reporter told Ms Dunz to pose her question in German so Mr Trump could not interrupt [Image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images].

It’s quite well-known that Donald Trump’s family was originally German – that’s why This Site refers to him as Herr Drumpf (his real name).

How humiliating for him, then, that he could not even understand a question put to him in his own native language!

A German reporter has won plaudits from fellow journalists after finding a way to ask Donald Trump the kind of challenging questions he normally manages to avoid.

Kristina Dunz from the German Press Agency (DPA) was widely praised for asking Mr Trump why he was “so scared” of the media during Chancellor Angela Merkel’s trip to the White House.

She said she had been advised by a US colleague to pose her questions in German because Mr Trump would have to wait for the full translation before responding and therefore could not interrupt.

She said: “Why are you so scared of diversity in the news, and in the media, that you speak so often of fake news?

“And that things after all, in the end, cannot be proven, for example, the fact that you have been wiretapped by [Barack] Obama?”

Source: Reporter lauded after finding way to ask Donald Trump tough questions others couldn’t

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15 thoughts on “German-descended Donald Trump fails to understand question in his native language

  1. Samuel Miller (@Hephaestus7)

    I think that’s an unfair criticism, Mike. There are many Americans with French last names who don’t speak a word of French. Several decades ago, my father met a Wall Street professional in New York City whose last name was Lefèvre—but he pronounced it “Le Fever”. This American confided that he was married to a French-Canadian but only knew two words of French: Oui and Non. His wife spoke to him in English.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The point of the article was that Trump couldn’t interrupt a question (to derail it) if it was asked in a language he couldn’t understand – he had to wait for the translation, by which time it was all out there. It merely seemed amusing to me that this man, of German descent, couldn’t understand a question fired at him in the language of his ancestors.

      1. Amena Saleem

        Is there any particular reason why he should be fluent in the language of his ancestors? Is that some sort of mandatory requirement in America? In your opinion, how many generations need to pass before a person in America can consider US English to be their native language? And not be told by other people what their native language should be?

  2. Barry Davies

    The story of an itinerant lawyer Hanns Drumpf presented by Gwenda Blair in her book The Trumps (2000) who settled in Kallstadt in 1608 and whose descendants changed their name from Drumpf to Trump during the Thirty Years’ War of the 1600s could not be substantiated and is not in accord with the data provided by the German genealogists.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Donald Trump’s paternal grandfather, Friedrich Trump, originally emigrated to the United States in 1885. We don’t use Drumpf to be respectful.

      1. Shaun

        his grandfather returned to the fatherland who refused him residency,persona non grata, so returned to the states, America First, especially if your own country does no want you

      2. Amena Saleem

        Why do you use it, then? More to the point, why do you say his ‘real name’ is Herr Drumpf? Is he lying when he says his name is Mr Trump? Or are you inadvertently mimicking his own racist behaviour towards immigrants and their descendants?

  3. Amena Saleem

    Hi Mike.

    My parents were immigrants to England from India in the 1950’s. They became British citizens. I, and my siblings, were born in London. We were British from birth. My nephews and nieces were also born in London, and were British from birth. They are all now in their late teens and early 20’s. Their native language is English, not Urdu. As is mine. This is because we were born in England, are British citizens, and have always lived in England (simple, right?).

    I refer to myself as Ms (not Begum – Indian for Mrs), when giving myself a title. And I consider Ms to be my real title, not Begum. This is because I’m English and I live in England, not India (also simple to understand, I think).

    Like all non-white British people in England, my family has had its struggles with the racism and ignorance of others.

    If anyone told me my real name is Begum Saleem, not Ms Saleem, because my parents were born in India, I would say they were racist, regardless of whatever other amusing point they were trying to make.

    If someone laughed at my nephews and nieces because they don’t speak Urdu, and assumed they were stupid because they don’t, I would say that person was racist, arrogant and lazy in their thinking, and I would be depressed that they found such a thing funny.

    Immigrants and their descendants can’t win, can they Mike? We’re attacked if we can’t speak English, and now we’re attacked if we can’t speak the language of a country far away. When will we just be allowed to be British? How many generations does it take, Mike? Because three obviously isn’t enough.

    Yes, your article is about Trump, and the amusement you bizarrely feel that a third generation immigrant (because he’s presumably still an immigrant to you, as am I, no doubt, as are my nephews and nieces) can’t speak what to him is a foreign language. But your article hurts *me*. Because it reminds me that, in the eyes of so many people, I’m not truly British, and never will be, and there will always be someone around to remind me of that.

    And I guess what surprised and disappointed me most was that this viewpoint – that immigrants and their descendants will always be considered natives of another country, and therefore English will never be considered their native language – came from the political left, not a right-wing commentator. No refuge for me anywhere on the political spectrum, eh?

    Just so you know – I hate Trump, and I hate his racism. But I believe both should be fought courageously and intelligently, not replicated by the left-wing websites I rely on for news. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to attack Trump. His inability to speak a foreign language isn’t one of them.

    Best wishes,
    Amena

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      This is about Donald Trump, not you or your family.
      As far as I know, neither you nor your family have attacked immigrants, either verbally or via legislation. Mr Trump has – despite his own family being relatively recent immigrants to the US.
      No, my article doesn’t – or at least shouldn’t – hurt you because it is not flagging up contradictions in your behaviour.
      Do not try to tar me with any racist brush; the article points out contradictions in Trump’s attitude, not any flaws in my own.
      The article was intended humorously, to ridicule a man whose attitude falls short of what should be expected of him.
      All things considered, I find it unacceptable that you are defending him in the way you are.
      Perhaps I should save you the trouble of making a big song and dance of flouncing out again and simple block you as a troll.

  4. Amena Saleem

    I realise that you’re not going to make my comments public, let alone attempt to respond to them. So I’ve unsubscribed from Vox political alerts, as I no longer respect the site.
    However, I’ve come back one last time, to post this link and provide an example of a grown up (and far more informative) way to cover this story. Here you go: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/german-reporter-who-grilled-trump-is-hailed-at-home/2017/03/20/6435c7b2-0d78-11e7-aa57-2ca1b05c41b8_story.html?utm_term=.1354f548f33a

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I have made your comments public.
      It seems you’re leaving because you don’t like criticism of Herr Drumpf.
      That’s your business. Why make a song and dance about it?

Comments are closed.