Remembering White House Dinner with Trump and Gorbachev, 1987

Washington, D.C. I have been busy editing and publishing books as I took a break from this column due to Corona. This column has been published in English and Japanese with the kindness of NY Biz. And now I will continue this column for a while, thank you.

In December 1987, President Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Socialist Republic came to the White House for the first time. At that time, a great welcome was made, and receptions were held day and night. I attended during the day when celebrities and members of the press were invited.

President Ronald Reagan, right, and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev sign the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in the White House East Room on December 8, 1987.

I believe there were several reasons I was invited. At that time, I had started working with Soviet culture and had invited Soviet artists to the U.S. I had invited the Moscow National Philharmonic, led by Leonid Kogan’s son Pavel, to tour America. I was also managing Eugene Fodot, the first American violinist to win the Soviet Tchaikovsky Competition held once every four years. Fodot, the so-called “cowboy violinist,” received this most prestigious award under my management.

About 200 people were invited to Reagan’s luncheon and President Gorbachev conversed happily and earnestly with each in the reception line, causing a delay in serving the meal. I too shook hands with Gorbachev, and we discussed the importance of cultural exchange.

When I found my seat, I was surprised to find Donald Trump sitting next to me. Mr. Trump was frustrated to have been waiting two hours for lunch, exclaiming to me that the delay had cost him to lose $3 million.

Also at our table was Barbara Walters, the famous journalist. They had flown together on his private plane from New York as she was interviewing him, and he casually invited me to fly back with them. However, I needed to manage an incoming foreign orchestra, so I had to regretfully decline. I had to get back to New York before dessert was served.


Over the luncheon I spoke with Mr. Trump about many things and there were times when I was very impressed. Despite his frequent vulgarities which caught me by surprise, I was very impressed with his intellect. His head moved at great speed which I found overwhelming and surprising.

I asked him what he meant about losing $3 million. He immediately shared with me his mental calculations about his loses, divided by time and circumstance, laced with unprintable explicates.

Everyone has their shortcomings. Mr. Trump’s is clearly in the field of manners. What he lacks in etiquette, however, he seems to make up for in intelligence and sheer strength of character. For the coming 2020 election, pundits says President Trump may lose reelection. I can only say that they don’t know Mr. Trump at all.

If everyone could only stop being shaken by the way our president communicates and only focus on his tremendous achievements over the last four years in spite of his lack of experience in politics, it’s simply incredible. That’s because, by comparison, Obama couldn’t do anything!

When you encounter a figure like President Trump, you may personally like him or hate him. But when we focus on his record it would be a real shame if he could not continue for another four years. I support him. I believe he’s good for the world and America. Indeed, actions speak louder than words.


Many Americans like me cheered loudly when Barak Obama was elected our first black president. Sadly, he achieved so little over two terms. He speaks well, behaves well, is kind to people, and that’s why we believed in him. But Obama’s health reform was ill-conceived.

Mr. Trump is totally different. True, he acts like a child. He’s selfish and naughty and doesn’t use his language very well. But when I think about it, President Trump’s track record of actual accomplishments is one hundred times better than that of Obama’s. I will be so disappointed if the President is not reelected!

Gratitude Gassho.

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About Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura

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Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura
Dr. Kazuko was born into a distinguished old family in Kyoto, Japan, and graduated from Toho conservatory of Music in Tokyo. In 1961 she came to U.S. as a pianist sponsored by the Boston Symphony. She studied at Boston University, New York University, and received her Ph.D. in Oriental Medicine from New York State University and the International Academy of Education in Tokyo. From 1968 to 1992, she promoted cultural exchanges from East to West and vice versa, and became a world famous impresario, producing 2,000 events each year all over the world encompassing over 140 countries. In this connection, in 1972, she went to Dharamsala to find the lost Tibetan Folk Opera, and met His Holiness the Dalai Lama, with whom she remains a lifelong friend. In 1973 and 1991 she arranged and funded personally the tours of the Folk Opera of Tibet to the West. She has received many medals and honors from different countries. Her tireless life long work in Philanthropic field is vast and well known ranging from Save the Beacon Theater, Save the Boat People, Help the Homeless, natural disasters of earthquakes and tsunamis, as well as relief to AIDS and HIV positive children in Africa. She has been a dedicated Board Member to both the J. Luce Foundation and Orphans International for years. Her work focuses on the Tibetan people; Tibetan children remain especially strong in her heart. She raised fund for the new academic building for Manjushree Orphanage in Tawang, India and supported many aspects of the school. See HuffPo pieces entitled Japanese Holistic Healer in NYC to Build School for Tibetan Orphans in India, A Japanese Dinner with Raul Castro’s Daughter, and NYC Gala in Support of Tibetan Orphans Set for January.

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