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‘It had to be very simple’: Europeans used ‘colorful cue cards’ to explain trade to Trump

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(Photo by Marc Nozell/Flickr)

European Union officials who flew to Washington, D.C. this week to try to negotiate a trade treaty with President Donald Trump knew that they couldn’t present him with large sets of complicated information, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal.

Specifically, the Journal’s sources say that EU representatives made use of “colorful cue cards” that they thought would help keep the president’s attention during meetings. Each card contained what WSJ describes as “simplified explainers” that “had at most three figures about a specific topic, such as trade in cars or standards for medical devices.”

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One European official speaking anonymously to WSJ reporters says that they knew they’d have to dumb things down compared to typical meetings they had with world leaders given the president’s penchant for getting distracted during meetings and presentations.

“We knew this wasn’t an academic seminar,” the official says. “It had to be very simple.”

Last year, a White House confidant told the Washington Post that Trump only had enough patience to get through a “half page” of information during a meeting, and would often tune out of meetings if they lasted longer than just two minutes.

“Even a single page of bullet points on the country seemed to tax the president’s attention span on the subject, said senior White House officials,” the Post reported.


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