Photo opp with Kim, jokes and smiles with Putin and MBS – Trump’s G20 sadly went ‘business as usual’.
President Trump’s behavior at the G-20 meeting in Japan may have hit a new low mark, even for him.
He sat with America’s biggest enemy – Russia’s Vladimir Putin – and, when asked by a reporter if Trump would raise Russia’s meddling in our election in 2016 pointed a playful finger at the Russian side and mockingly reprimanded them. Telling them not to meddle in our elections again! A fine laugh was shared by the leaders, a schoolgirl kind of giggle over their little inside joke. Clearly Russia will meddle again and clearly Trump knows (now if he didn’t in 2016) that interference can only help him.
It was obvious that Trump at some point would say, see, I told Putin not to mess with us so quit asking me. And, indeed, in a press conference later he said about the exchange, “you have to look at the words.” Yes, sir, but you also have to watch the video – you said it with a laugh. I have a feeling that Putin took it, as did millions of others, as light-hearted banter and not a serious rebuke.
Next, as he said “thank you,” signaling the photo opp was over and the media should leave, he leaned again into his BFF Putin and said “fake news,” pointing at the exiting media and telling Putin “you don’t have that problem” or words to that effect. To which Putin, ever the joker himself, responded “yes, we do.” A riotous remark because Russia does not have a free press and Putin literally has had killed some of his critics in journalism in Russia.
Trump had breakfast with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman who is alleged by a global investigation and our own intelligence agencies as the one who ordered the killing and slicing up of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In referring to this cold blooded killer Trump called him a “great man” and good friend of the United States.
Next, he tweeted out that he was going to visit the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea and playfully tweeted that if Kim Jong-Un, the North’s dictator and murderer-in-chief, wanted to meet him there for a handshake, that would be cool. Kim accepted the allegedly spontaneous offer.
Trump produced, then, what he thought would be a world-shattering photo opp of him stepping over the demarcation line, with Kim escorting him 20 steps into North Korea. The first time a sitting U.S. president has done that.
This, indeed, produced a historic photo opp for the leader – that leader being Kim who has been leveraging Trump for all he’s worth (not as much as he claims) to give him (Kim) legitimacy in the world. You’ll note that Kim says quite positive things about Trump – playing to the President’s ego and narcissism – but has done absolutely nothing about denuclearizing his country. He also speaks not so kindly about the secretary of state and others. Trump, of course, takes the fact that Kim has ordered no new nuclear tests as evidence of his diplomatic brilliance. Which he certainly can take some credit for until Kim does his next test and when that happens, you’ll see Kim no longer complimenting Trump.
Put those examples together and, even for Trump, it was the quickest one-two-three-four punch combination he’s ever mustered. But who was he punching? The murderers he met with or We the People and our allies?
Trump’s next big scheduled event is kidnapping the country’s formerly non-partisan celebration of the birth of our nation and turning it from a Tribute to America to a Tribute to Trump.
Ever since he witnessed a parade of military members and equipment in France, Trump has wanted his own such celebration. He’s going to get it on July 4.
He’s moved the fireworks to a new location and will deliver a speech during the party previously reserved as a joyous celebration of the birth of the greatest country the world has (had) ever seen. It’ll delay flights from Reagan Airport for security reasons and to make way for a Trump-ordered flyover of Air Force One, and it will close traffic on a main bridge to the District of Columbia, inconveniencing tens of thousands trying to make their way to celebrate our country and likely disappointing children who just want to see the fireworks and not hear a political speech.
Trump is making the Fourth a celebration of Trump. Not only unsurprising but making it appear that hundreds of thousands of people have made their way to Washington to celebrate Trump. He will no doubt take credit for the big turnout despite the fact that they were coming anyway and, in effect, he kidnapped them.
I know there are many Trump supporters out there. I know a few actually read this blog. I ask you: “You may support his presidency and approve of his policies. But do you really support his endorsing murderers (Putin, Bin Salmon, Kim) and his kidnapping what was a joyous, patriotic day of no politics, and making it his own?” I mean, his campaign doesn’t even have to try to build a crowd – the fireworks crowd is baked in the cake, for heaven’s sake.
Fine with me if you agree with his policies. He won the election and has the right, of course, to put in policies he thinks are good for the country. Did his policies have anything to do with the economic recovery that started years before he was even nominated? Probably. Deregulation was greeted happily by the business community. It upset years of regulation aimed at keeping our environment clean and rules protecting workers, but it also likely contributed positively to the economy.
But again, do you really support Trump putting his arm around three international murderers literally within hours of each other, joking with them as you would a neighbor at your holiday barbecue?
I know you think it’s fun when he hammers the free press, and sometimes they deserve it, but do you really want what Trump wants – a media that only lauds him and hides his bad side? Do you really accept a President who praises tyrants and murderers while talking down to our decades-long allies?
If you do, skip the celebration of the Fourth of July and enjoy the Tribute to Trump.🔷
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