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Laughing With Him or at Him? New Zealand’s Leader Tactfully Addresses President Trump’s Viral U.N. Moment

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was in the room Tuesday when President Donald Trump delivered a speech to the U.N. General Assembly that prompted unexpected giggles from the audience — but don’t expect her to fully reveal the reason for the laughs.

Stephen Colbert attempted to get her to weigh in on the viral moment while she appeared on The Late Show Wednesday evening, but Ardern demurred, playfully asking Colbert if he was trying to create a “diplomatic incident.”

She later addressed his question — but only a little.

“There was a little laughter and then he said, ‘I didn’t expect that response’ and then there was a bigger laugh,” Ardern said. “Then people laughed with him.”

The reaction from the U.N. audience came after the president insisted that “in less than two years, my administration has accomplished almost more than any other administration in the history of our country.”

After his speech, Trump claimed that the wave of laughter after his comments was intentional.

While discussing the viral moment between events at the annual meeting of world leaders in New York this week, the president explained the speech was supposed to be received in a cheerful manner and was taken out of context, calling the media’s coverage “fake news.”

Trump later told reporters during a press conference Wednesday afternoon that attendees “weren’t laughing at me, they were laughing with me.”


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