(CNN) — Donald Trump no longer commands the trappings of White House state dinners to host foreign dignitaries or the flight itinerary of Air Force One to meet them abroad, but that hasn’t stopped the former president from huddling with world leaders eager to bolster their relationship with the presumptive Republican nominee amid another close presidential election campaign.

In recent weeks, Trump, seizing the role of both an erstwhile diplomat and ascending opposition party leader, has extended welcomes to a series of foreign leaders at his homes in Florida and New York. He dined with Polish President Andrzej Duda in New York during the first week of his hush money trial, hosted British Foreign Secretary David Cameron at his Mar-a-Lago club the week before and has spoken by phone with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recently, among other high-profile meetings.

The latest rendezvous came Tuesday night. After leaving the Manhattan courthouse, Trump had dinner with former Japanese prime minister Taro Aso, a senior official in his country’s ruling party. The two discussed the importance of the US-Japan alliance, as well as challenges posed by China and North Korea, according to a readout of the meeting from the Trump campaign.

It’s not unusual for foreign leaders to meet with the leader of the party that doesn’t control the White House – especially one with a serious chance of becoming commander in chief. In the throes of his 2008 presidential campaign, then-freshman Sen. Barack Obama famously embarked on an overseas trip where he met with European and Middle East leaders and delivered a rousing address to 200,000 onlookers in Berlin. Challenging Obama four years later, Republican nominee Mitt Romney visited the United Kingdom, Israel and Poland as he sought to burnish his foreign policy credentials.

Biden and his top envoys have also met and spoken with opposition leaders, something that has been a longstanding practice for US officials.

In March 2022, Biden spoke by phone with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the opposition leader of Belarus, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with UK Labour Party leader Keir Starmer in Munich in February, among other meetings.

Still, Trump finds himself in a distinct position. It is exceptionally rare that a presidential candidate has previously carried out a foreign policy doctrine, filled the US State Department with his diplomatic appointments and built relationships with the same leaders now arriving on his doorstep.

The pace of these meetings in the middle of a campaign has also presented a new dynamic for President Joe Biden to grapple with as his administration confronts a host of challenges abroad.

The US State Department did not respond to a request for comment.

A person close to Trump described the meetings as friendly encounters and downplayed them as unsurprising given his past relationships with many of these figures.

“They’re seeking him out, he’s not seeking them out,” the person said. “They clearly want to get their insights into how he views the world, and many think he could be president again or they wouldn’t fly to Mar-a-Lago or New York to meet with him.”

The worldviews of Biden and Trump have long been at odds, and they have publicly litigated their dueling approaches to foreign allies and adversaries dating back to the 2020 presidential campaign.

Biden as a candidate promised to strengthen ties with America’s traditional overseas partners, especially in Europe, and criticized Trump for praising instead of challenging rival foreign powers such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

At a meeting of NATO countries last month in Poland, Biden pledged that America would remain a stalwart in foreign affairs and continue to defend against Putin’s aggression.

“When we stand together, no force on earth is more powerful,” Biden said.

On the campaign trail, Trump regularly insists the wars that have broken out in Ukraine and between Israel and Hamas would not have occurred on his watch. At rallies, Trump has called Xi “a very smart guy, very strong leader,” used Putin’s words to criticize Biden and told a crowd that he had a “a very good relationship” with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, who would “love to see me back.”

“They say that’s terrible,” Trump said. “No, it’s not terrible. It’s called smart.”

In a statement to CNN, Trump campaign spokesman Brian Hughes said the former president’s recent meetings with leaders “reflect the recognition of what we already know here at home. Joe Biden is weak, and when President Trump is sworn in as the 47th President of the United States, the world will be more secure and America will be more prosperous.”

Some of the leaders whom Trump has engaged have been at times at odds with Biden. Trump, for example, recently hosted Hungarian President Viktor Orban, who frequently shows deference to Putin, and he embraced backstage with Argentina’s new right-wing populist leader Javier Milei at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference.

During the evening with Orban, amid a concert at his Palm Beach resort, the former president heaped accolades on the European autocrat, telling the crowd: “There’s nobody that’s better, smarter or a better leader than Viktor Orbán. He’s fantastic.”

The meeting was illustrative of Trump’s history of embracing global strongmen – at times at the expense of more traditional US allies. A Biden administration official confirmed to CNN at the time that the White House did not extend an invitation to the authoritarian leader to meet with Biden, and Orbán did not request a White House meeting during his trip to the US.

But Trump’s incursions into foreign affairs have also brought him in close proximity with America’s partners abroad.

Trump’s meeting with Aso comes just two weeks after Biden hosted Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the White House for a state visit. Both Aso and Kishida are leaders in Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which is the country’s major conservative political party.

During the state dinner earlier this month, Biden touted the US-Japan alliance as being “stronger than it’s ever been” and announced new plans for military cooperation with the country. Japan has been at the center of Biden’s alliance-building in the Indo-Pacific region, with Kishida significantly shifting the country’s defense posture in recent years and providing ongoing support to Ukraine.

Trump also spoke by phone in March with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, two sources familiar with the call told CNN. The call, first reported by the New York Times, was arranged by Sen. Lindsey Graham while the South Carolina Republican was visiting Salman. The conversation came as the Biden administration is working behind the scenes to establish formal diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, a deal that the White House views as a crucial part of negotiations to end the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Trump also spoke by phone with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, a longtime American ally, in March, two sources familiar with the conversation told CNN. The New York Times first reported the details of the call.

Last week, Trump met with Poland’s Duda at Trump Tower, where the two discussed NATO spending over dinner. Duda has proposed that NATO countries increase their pledge to spend 3% of their GDP on defense, up from 2%.

Trump, both while president and during his 2024 campaign, has called on NATO countries to spend more on defense. During a campaign rally in February, Trump said he would encourage Russia to do “whatever the hell they want” to any NATO member country that doesn’t meet spending guidelines. The stunning remark received swift backlash from Republicans and Democrats alike, and raised concerns that Trump may not abide by the collective-defense clause at the heart of the NATO alliance if reelected.

Duda, meanwhile, previously spoke about the proposal with Biden at the March NATO gathering, telling the American president: “Two percent was good ten years ago. Now three percent is required in response to the full-scale war launched by Russia right beyond NATO’s eastern border.”

Earlier this month, Trump also discussed NATO defense spending and the Russia-Ukraine war over dinner with Cameron, the British foreign secretary, at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Karen Pierce, the British ambassador to the United States, also attended the dinner.

Cameron’s visit came days before the former UK Prime Minister met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington to discuss the US sending more aid to Ukraine. A spokesperson for the British government called Cameron’s meeting with Trump “standard practice,” arguing it wasn’t unusual for there to be engagement between ministers and opposition candidates of partner nations.

Trump, Cameron and Pierce didn’t just talk about military pacts during their Mar-a-Lago gathering. According to a readout of the meeting, the three “also discussed their mutual admiration for the late Queen Elizabeth II.”

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