In a new kind of Trump-related controversy, the country is divided over... fish food. The president was lambasted by many people on Twitter and in the media after it appeared Trump dumped a box of fish food prematurely into a koi pond while on an official visit to Japan. Observers suggested he was supposed to feed the fish spoonful by spoonful, instead of tossing everything in at once. However, it emerges that Trump was just taking his lead from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who dumped out his whole box first.
Trump and Abe had been visiting the Akasaka Palace. They had entered a dining room that overlooks the koi pond; the two then came out with the boxes for the photo op. In one video shot that zooms in on President Trump, it seems that he threw in a few scoops with the spoon and then grew impatient, dumping the whole box and grinning like a kid in trouble.
But in another angle posted to Twitter later Monday morning by Bloomberg's Nicholas Wadhams, it's clear that Abe first dumped his box. The two leaders then then smile and wave to the crowd, a typical exchange for the leaders of the allied nations.
It would seem simple enough, but Twitter arguments nearly led this into koi-gate territory. Upon seeing the initial cut of the video, some Twitter users posted things like this tweet from Yashar Ali, a New York Magazine contributor. "Trump was supposed to feed the koi by the spoonful with PM Abe but quickly got impatient and dumped the whole box of food into the pond," he wrote.
Others took it even further. "While his host, prime minister Shinzo Abe, sprinkles small spoonfuls, Trump dumps entire box of fish food into precious Japanese koi pond," wrote Ryan Adams, an Awards Daily editor, with a photo of koi fish and a thought bubble that read, "What a f*cking moron."
Some had jokes. "Trump was told this was batter and that dumping the box in is how you make fish sticks," wrote journalist Jeb Lund.
And others read into it an entire foreign policy stance. "This entire trip to Japan is about Trump asserting dominance. Hence spilling the fish food, insulting their economy, and refusing to bow," wrote user @ShadilayForever. Trump did refrain from bowing to Emperor Akihito on Monday, as witnessed by Reuters. Obama was criticized for his bow in 2009.
All in all, people were quick to jump to the conclusion that Trump had screwed up. His supporters didn't like that, leading to some attacks on the mainstream media. "This is how pathetic the MSM is — they edited out Abe dumping his food in order to make Trump look bad. A new low in Fake News!" wrote user Brett Mac.
"MSM decides to make up a story on Trump not feeding fish correctly. It’s not like there’s video of it ...oh wait!" wrote another user, @lbrot1, whose name on Twitter is Deplorables4Trump.
Felicity Morse, a British news editor, made the mainstream media's correction with a pun. "KOI-N YOU BELIEVE IT? Koi-carp based fake news. Abe dumped his fish food first, before Trump," she tweeted.
Jim Waterson of BuzzFeed News also acknowledged that the initial "mainstream media" reports were wrong. "The 'Trump offended Abe by dumping all his fish food into the water' thing is *actually fake news* for once," he tweeted.
Many of the initial people to post something owned up to the error, including Yashar Ali. He uploaded a photo of his initial tweet with an explanation. "I've deleted this tweet which was based on multiple news reports but the video clearly shows Abe dumping his box of food first," Ali tweeted.