Former President Donald Trump told a racist joke during an Oval Office briefing before a May 2017 meeting with then-Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuân Phúc, former U.S. ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius writes in his new book.
When Trump was told the visiting leader’s name rhymed with book, Osius said the then-president asked if it was like “Fook You.”
“I knew a guy named Fook You. Really. I rented him a restaurant,” Trump continued, according to Osius’ account. “When he picked up the phone, he answered ‘Fook You.’ His business went badly. People didn’t like that. He lost the restaurant.”
“All those present laughed dutifully,” Osius wrote in “Nothing Is Impossible: America’s Reconciliation With Vietnam.” Salon published excerpts on Tuesday ahead of the book’s release later this week.
Phúc is now the president of Vietnam.
During Trump’s time in office, he described Haiti and African nations as “shithole” countries and was blamed for a spike in anti-Asian racism during the coronavirus pandemic. Trump still uses racist slurs to refer to the virus.