WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump had his own water bottle moment.
Trump, fresh from his marathon trip to Asia, paused during his address to the nation on Wednesday to take a swig of water — twice.
Offering a blow-by-blow account of his five-nation tour, the president took a brief break to reach for a bottle of water as he recounted Japanese companies’ billion-dollar investments and jobs in the U.S.
At first, he couldn’t find any in his presidential lectern. “They don’t have water? That’s OK,” he said. When he was informed it was sitting on a small table to his right, the president unscrewed the cap, took a drink and then resumed his speech. He took another swig later in the speech.
Trump’s water break drew instant comparisons to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s 2013 speech after then-President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. Giving the Republican response, Rubio lunged for a drink of bottled water during the televised address — all while keeping his gaze on the camera — and later laughed it off as a case of dry mouth.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump frequently skewered Rubio, his one-time GOP rival, for needing to quench his thirst during speeches.
“When they put Marco on to refute President Obama’s speech, do you remember that catastrophe?” Trump asked a campaign crowd in Fort Worth, Texas, in February 2016. Trump mocked Rubio, saying, “He’s like this: ‘I need water. Help me, I need water,'” Trump said, pretending to stagger on stage.
“This is on live television. This total choke artist,” Trump said at the time, holding up a bottle of water, saying, “It’s Rubio.” Trump splashed the water around before tossing the bottle behind him on stage. “Unbelievable,” Trump said in 2016.
For Rubio, it was all water under the bridge. The senator joked after the president’s speech that Trump needs to work on his form.
Retweeting video of the episode, Rubio wrote on Twitter, “Similar,but needs work on his form.Has to be done in one single motion & eyes should never leave the camera. But not bad for his 1st time.”
Dry mouth or not, the president may have violated his own advice on water breaks. When Rubio needed water during his 2013 speech, Trump tweeted, “Next time Marco Rubio should drink his water from a glass as opposed to a bottle_would have much less negative impact.”
Trump’s source of water in the White House Diplomatic Reception Room? A bottle of Fiji.
Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.
On Twitter follow Ken Thomas at @KThomasDC.