Following an unfortunate recent interview with NPR's Mary Louise Kelly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo directed an aid to bring him a global map without labels, daring the host to point to Ukraine. Kelly, a Harvard-trained NPR journalist has a post-graduate degree in European studies from Cambridge, had little trouble with the challenge.
Nevertheless, the incident suggested this is an administration that takes geography seriously. It's unfortunate, then, that Donald Trump doesn't seem to share the same interest.
President Donald Trump congratulated the Kansas City Chiefs on their come-from-behind Super Bowl victory on Sunday.Only he praised the wrong state."Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs on a great game, and a fantastic comeback, under immense pressure," Trump tweeted. "You represented the Great State of Kansas and, in fact, the entire USA, so very well. Our Country is PROUD OF YOU!"The Chiefs play at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.
There is, of course, a Kansas City in the state of Kansas, but it does not have its professional football team, and it's certainly not the home of the new Super Bowl champs.
And while, in the grand scheme of things, this should probably be seen as an embarrassing-but-trivial incident, it's worth pausing from time to time to appreciate just how bad this president is at geography.
Circling back to some of our earlier coverage, the president attended a United Nations luncheon with African leaders a couple of years ago, at which he praised the health care system in Nambia. There is no such country.
A year later, the Republican told his foreign policy advisers that he knew Nepal and Bhutan were parts of India, despite the fact that neither is part of India. Trump has also reportedly struggled to understand different time zones.
He also reportedly told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, "[I]t's not as though you have China right on your border." (India and China share a large border.)
More recently, Trump insisted that his administration is building a border wall in Colorado, which failed to make sense for a wide variety reasons, including the fact that Colorado doesn't border a foreign country.
What's more, there are plenty of other examples along these lines.
Chances are, this latest story will soon fade, to be replaced with some other unfortunate mistake, but if recent history is any guide, White House officials will quietly direct the United States Geological Survey to issue an unsigned statement today, explaining that the Chiefs technically play in Kansas, reality be damned.
Postscript: Some on the right have already tried to defend Trump's mistake, but their efforts haven't exactly been persuasive.