Shock: Trump, Hagerty Salute, Mourn Shinzo Abe After Gunman Strikes Down Former Japanese Premier

President Donald J. Trump and his ambassador to Japan, and now GOP senator for Tennessee, expressed shock and sadness today at the death of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, killed by a gunman while campaigning Friday in Nara, Japan.

“The world today tragically lost a leading statesman, a tireless champion of democratic values, and the greatest Prime Minister in modern Japanese history, my friend Shinzo Abe,” said Sen. William F. Hagerty IV (R-TN), who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“During my tenure as U.S. Ambassador to Japan, I cherished our friendship, and I extend my deepest sympathies and prayers to Abe-san’s loved ones and the wonderful people of Japan,” Hagerty said.

“On behalf of my wife Chrissy and our four children, I extend my deepest sympathies and prayers to Abe-san’s loved ones and the wonderful people of Japan,” he said.

Here is Abe campaigning at a similar event to the one where he was killed two days later:

Both of Abe’s grandfathers were prominent in pre-war and wartime Japan, his mother’s father was an industrialist with holdings in Manchuria and his father’s father held many agricultural interests. The late premier’s own father trained as a kamikaze pilot, but did not join active service before the war ended. Later, Abe’s father served in the Japanese House of Representatives and as a cabinet officer.

After working in private industry, Abe became active in the Liberal Democratic Party in the 1980s, the party he would eventually lead.

Trump posted two statements on his TruthSocial, the first shortly after the gunman fired upon the 67-year-old Abe with a shotgun.

“Absolutely devastating news that former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, a truly great man and leader, has been shot, and is in very serious condition,” the president said.

“He was a true friend of mine and, much more importantly, America. This is a tremendous blow to the wonderful people of Japan, who loved and admired him so much,” he said. “We are all praying for Shinzo and his beautiful family!”

Then, when the news of his friend’s death broke, Trump posted again, this time with raw emotion and a call for justice for his killer.

“Really BAD NEWS FOR THE WORLD! Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is dead. He was assassinated,” the president said.

“His killer was captured and will hopefully be dealt with swiftly and harshly. Few people know what a great man and leader Shinzo Abe was, but history will teach them and be kind,” he said.

“He was a unifier like no other, but above all, he was a man who loved and cherished his magnificent country, Japan. Shinzo Abe will be greatly missed,” Trump said. “There will never be another like him!”

Trump, Abe forged a partnership

Abe was the first world leader to arrange a meeting with President-elect Donald J. Trump, and in the first two years of the Trump administration, the two men held nearly 30 official meetings and phone conversations.

During Trump’s time in the White House, he and Abe would golf together and their friendship was considered Trump’s closer with among world leaders.

This friendship bore fruit during Trump’s effort to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, and thaw relations with North Korea.

In this photo, Abe mirrors Trump’s posture with other world leaders:

After the president’s first year in office, Abe said he was already amazed at how well he got along with Trump.

“Over the half-century history of the Japan-U.S. alliance, we have never seen two leaders of Japan and the United States forging as close a relationship as ours and as strong a bond as ours in just one year.”

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Photo “Shinzo Abe Talking with Donald Trump” by 首相官邸ホームページ. CC BY 4.0.


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