President Obama was overheard joking with world leaders in his home state of Hawaii Sunday that dressing them up in traditional Hawaiian garb for a group photograph would have been “embarrassing.”
When Australian Prime Minister Julia Gallard commented to Mr. Obama about “grass skirts,” reporters overheard Mr. Obama reply, “It’s embarrassing enough… coconut bras…”
Chilean President Sebastián Piñera Echenique asked Mr. Obama, “Where are the Hawaiian shirts?”
“We are ending that tradition,” Mr. Obama said, making a horizontal cutting gesture with his right hand.
World leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit traditionally don the native garb of their host country for their group photo. But they skipped the tradition at last year’s summit in Japan.
Mr. Obama told his guests at a luau earlier that he was giving them Hawaiian shirts, but they could wear business suits for the photo.
“I was persuaded by our team to perhaps break tradition,” he said.