Trump Mourns Death of 'True Friend' Prime Minister Abe Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to the media upon his arrival at the prime minister's office on Aug. 24, 2020. (Kazuhiro Nogi/Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Friday, 08 July 2022 07:40 AM EDT
Former President Donald Trump early Friday mourned the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated during a campaign speech in western Japan, calling Abe a "true friend" of his and to the United States.
"Really BAD NEWS FOR THE WORLD!" Trump posted on his social media platform, Truth Social. "Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is dead. He was assassinated. His killer was captured and will hopefully be dealt with swiftly and harshly. Few people know what a great man and leader Shinzo Abe was, but history will teach them and be kind. He was a unifier like no other, but above all, he was a man who loved and cherished his magnificent country, Japan. Shinzo Abe will be greatly missed. There will never be another like him! President Donald J. Trump."
Abe, who was 67 years old, was shot twice from behind just minutes after he started speaking in Nara. He was rushed from the scene and then airlifted to a hospital, but reportedly was not breathing and his heart had stopped. Hospital officials said he was pronounced dead despite treatment including blood transfusions.
According to Nara Medical University emergency department chief Hidetada Fukushima, the late prime minister suffered major damage to his heart in the shooting, along with neck wounds that damaged an artery, and was in both cardio and pulmonary arrest when he came to the hospital.
The shooting sent shock waves through Japan, which has strict gun control laws. The suspect, identified as Tetsuya Yamagami, a local man in his 40s, appears to have used a homemade weapon in the attack on Abe, reports CNN, quoting public broadcaster NHK.
Abe had been the longest-serving leader of Japan before he stepped down in 2020.
Trump also posted a message during the night as news broke of the attack on Abe, calling the news "devastating" and referring to Abe as a "truly great man and leader."
"He was a true friend of mine and, much more importantly, America," said Trump. "This is a tremendous blow to the wonderful people of Japan, who loved and admired him so much. We are all praying for Shinzo and his beautiful family!"
When Abe resigned in 2020, Trump praised him as the greatest prime minister in Japan's history during a phone call between the two world leaders.
According to the White House, Trump and Abe spoke at length during their Aug. 30, 2020 phone call, and Trump told Abe that he had done a fantastic job leading Japan and said the U.S.-Japan relationship is better than it has ever been.
Abe stepped down to undergo treatment for ulcerative colitis, a chronic digestive condition that also had forced him to resign as premier in 2007.