We should never have let him out of the big White House, let alone allow him to visit our friends on the other side of the pond. We knew, didn’t we, that he would embarrass us. We knew that he has no manners, is rude & crude, destined to offend somebody on a near-hourly basis. But still, we allowed not only him, but also his family to go abroad and further our image as the laughingstock of the globe.
As the song from the Sound of Music starts … let’s start at the very beginning … with Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia.
The Saudis fed Little Donnie Dark’s ego in a B-I-G way, plastering his image on a 5-story-high billboard in Riyadh. Saudi citizens were warned to avoid the area, as the image tended to cause symptoms such as nausea, dizziness and depression.
They rolled out the red carpet for him at King Khalid airport in Riyadh and there was even a a military brass band and a fighter jet flyover. Y’know … this is rather like sending your kid to grandma’s house for a weekend … when they come back they are so spoiled, so full of themselves. And this “kid” was already an egomaniac!
The first awkward moment came as Trump accepted a prestigious award from King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on Saturday. As he bowed his head to receive the Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud, the country’s highest civilian honour, Trump appeared to curtsy. Yes, curtsy … you know, Shirley Temple, ladies addressing their queen back in the olden days … curtsy.
Note that Trump had strongly criticized President Obama for bowing to King Abdullah in 2009.
Trump, surrounded by Saudi officials, bopped back and forth with a smile on his face, while White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief economic adviser Gary Cohn busted out more demure moves in the Saudi sword dance known as the ‘ardah’.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi added another layer to an already bloated ego, saying, “You are a unique personality that is capable of doing the impossible.” Trump replied, “I agree. Love your shoes. Boy, those shoes.” Oh woe, woe, thrice woe!!! I am hanging my head in shame …
And then he travelled on …
To Israel, where he proclaimed that he had just returned from the Middle East. Um, Donnie … Israel IS in the Middle East.
The thing most people here in the U.S. focused on was when, after disembarking from Air Force One, Trump and Melania were walking down the red carpet, he appears to attempt to take her hand, and she appears to slap it away. I don’t blame her … I wouldn’t hold his hand either!
Several days ago, I read that Netanyahu had to order his ministers to attend the ceremony for Trump at the airport, as a number of them planned to boycott. I cannot blame them … I would have called in sick that day.
Moving on to his visit with the Pope in Vatican City … in this case, a picture is worth a thousand words …
And there was more polishing of his ego when Trump received a tribute from the Swiss Guard in a Vatican courtyard upon his arrival. Don’t these people realize that his ego is already big enough??? Good grief … we will need to soak his head in ice for 72 hours when he returns to Washington, just to get the swelling down!
I’m not sure what the context of this was, but I thought it was funny: Pope Francis’ interpreter was heard translating a comment by the pope to the First Lady: “What do you give him to eat?” One could speculate that he was referring to his girth … or …
Pope Francis gave Trump a signed copy of his 2017 peace message whose title is “Nonviolence – A Style of Politics for Peace”, and a copy of his 2015 encyclical letter on the need to protect the environment from the effects of climate change. I think the Pope is trying to provide a message here …
And last, but certainly not least, we have Trump’s visit to Belgium and NATO.
Now, remember Trump bowed and curtsied to Saudi King Salman and promised Saudi Arabia and other Sunni dictatorships that they “will never question our support,” adding, “We are not here to lecture.” This, despite the fact that the Saudi government, along with Qatar, has been “providing clandestine financial and logistic support to Daesh and other radical Sunni groups in the region.” Saudi nationals make up the second-largest group of foreign fighters in Daesh and, by some accounts, the largest in the terrorist group’s Iraqi operations. The kingdom is in a tacit alliance with al-Qaeda in Yemen.
And also remember that we are a member of NATO, Belgium is a part of the EU, one of our longest, most trusted allies, but Trump treats them far less cordially than he treated King Salman.
As Karen Attiah, writing for the Washington Post so succinctly put it: “Trump was the party guest whom no one really wants to deal with but has to — because he has more money than anyone else. The party guest who shows up and berates the hosts for not paying for their fair share of the defense spending cake.”
Akbar Shahid Ahmed, a Huffington Post writer, tweeted, “Brutal details on Trump’s interactions with NATO peers. Far cry from obsequiousness & real sense of camaraderie, rebuilding in Saudi.”
“Tea pot meet kettle. Funny how a businessman who gets out of paying his fair share of taxes and tries to change laws to give the rich an even bigger break is lecturing others on paying their way. The hypocrisy.” – Anonymous tweeter
Trump refused to reiterate the U.S.’ support of Article 5, which affirms that NATO members will come to the mutual defense of any member that is under attack. Every president since Harry Truman in 1949 has pledged to honour Article 5 … but Trump refused. If NATO allies were nervous about the United States’ commitment to Europe’s security before, they must be fuming now. What a slap in the face to our friends, our allies. I am so ashamed of this ‘man’.
In a blunt address, he said directly that 23 of the 28 Nato members were not paying their fair share towards its costs and warned that was unfair to the American taxpayer. I will go into more detail in another post, but Trump does not understand how NATO works. It is not one of his businesses, and it also isn’t Trump’s place to lecture the ministers of other nations. One comment I read noted the irony of a man who has declared bankruptcy multiple times and shafted contractors many, many times, has the gall to lecture about ‘paying one’s bills’. I concur.
Trump . . . apparently decided to air his grievances over Germany’s trade surplus with the U.S. “The Germans are evil, very evil,” Trump reportedly complained in the meeting, attendees told German newspaper Der Spiegel. “Look at the millions of cars they sell in the U.S. We’ll stop that.” Der Spiegel reported that E.U. Commission leader Jean-Claude Juncker disagreed with Trump, defending the merits of free trade for the global economy. New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman notes that depending on the translation, Trump may have been calling the Germans merely “very bad” and not “very evil.” It should be noted that the factories where those German cars are produced are in the U.S., manned by U.S. workers, using many parts made in the U.S. Shoot yourself in the foot, Donnie-boy.
And lastly, an incident of which I’m sure you’ve all heard by now: As the leaders began to group themselves for the formal summit photograph, Mr Trump appeared to emerge from the back of the pack and firmly push out of the way Dusko Markovic, the prime minister of Montenegro – which is about to join the alliance. The American leader is then seen to draw himself to his full height, ready for the picture.
We have a spoiled brat, a 70-year-old bully in the White House. That is our problem and of our making. But it is unconscionable for us to impose his ugliness, his hostility, his crudeness upon the rest of the world, particularly our friends … if, in fact, we have any friends left. As always, he treats our antagonists much better than he treats our friends. I am ashamed and embarrassed by this man and his behaviour on this trip, as I knew I would be. It boils down to one word: respect. Donald Trump respects nobody and it is painfully obvious. He must never again be allowed to represent us abroad.