As Donald Trump’s shutdown dragged on through its 28th day on Friday, president was spending time talking on the phone to diners in Paris, The Washington Post reported Saturday.
Dan Balz, the newspaper’s chief correspondent, told an absolutely bizarre story that occurred as he was dining with paper’s Paris reporter.
While waiting for the check following their meal, a man at an adjacent table handed Balz a cell phone.
“Would you like to speak to the president?” the man asked.
Balz thought it might be French President Emmanuel Macron, but it was President Trump.
“I hear you’ve been saying nice things about me,” Trump said.
Balz said Trump seemed “a bit puzzled” by his noncommittal response.
“Are you Hillary or are you Trump?” Trump asked.
“I’m a reporter,” Balz answered. “Do you know who you’re speaking with?”
Balz said he learned he was on speakerphone after “an outbreak of laughter” that occurred when he identified himself.
The conversation lasted less than two minutes, before the man at the adjacent table asked for his phone back.
It turns out the man was CNBC “Squawk Box” co-anchor Joe Kernen.
Trump had called Kernen to express regrets over having to cancel an interview scheduled to take place at the World Economic Summit in Davos.
The president called off his planned trip to Davos because of his ongoing shutdown.
Kernan said he had told Trump that people were talking about him in Paris.
“Are they still there? Let me speak to them,” Trump reportedly instructed.
“And that was that,” Balz explained. “Just another night in a foreign capital. Just another bizarre moment and a chance encounter with the president of the United States.”