Saturday, January 13, 2018
Our shithole in chief
I suppose Trump's beef with the embassy in London and "shithole" countries around the world is nothing more than a distraction for Republicans unwilling or unable to come to the table to discuss a bipartisan immigration bill. After all, they had been down this road before in 2013 and it wasn't pretty, so why not let Trump fly off the handle and avoid even discussing such a bill in a hotly contested election year.
Trump let his "shithole" comment linger in the air like a fart for the better part of 15 hours before finally trying to deny he said it. The only problem is that everyone heard him, and at best the Republicans who were in the room with him can only claim they didn't hear it. That didn't stop Democrats from responding, and even Lindsey Antebellum has finally come forward to say yes, Trump said it.
Dear old Lindsey wanted to make himself the Republican point man on the new immigration bill, but even he appeared to have second thoughts. Trump's comments reflect the feelings of most Republicans when it comes to immigration. They are tired of seeing all these colored folk seeping into America, and would prefer to see more Nordic faces. Senator Graham knows it is an uphill battle, especially trying to get such a bill through the House, where the last immigration bill stalled when the Speaker John Boehner invoked the so-called "Hassert rule." Boehner claimed he had to have the majority support of his party to bring the bill to a floor vote, even though there were enough Republicans to go along with Democrats to pass the bill.
Of course Trump would like to pass the blame for the impasse onto Obama, like he did his reason for not attending the grand opening of the new US embassy in London, but it would only be more egg on his face. The "fabulous new embassy" has received raves across the board, not least of all the fact that it didn't cost US taxpayers an extra penny. It was financed entirely by the sale of London properties, including the old embassy at Mayfair. Trump only wants to go where he will be met by an adoring audience, and there is no such audience in London.
Nevertheless, his friends at Fox and across the conservative blogosphere are defending his comments, claiming that this is what you would hear in any bar across America. I suppose that may be true in Trump country, but is this really the level we want to discuss foreign policy?
Our president has literally turned our foreign policy into a shithole bar. No one can trust him at this point, as no country knows from one day to the next what Trump will say on a subject, leaving it up to his beleaguered state department to try to explain his comments. The US ambassador to Panama resigned rather than deal with the fallout from Trump's latest comments. I suppose Trump can send John Bolton down there for a "friendly visit."
Much of this damage is irreparable, as the US's position in the world continues to erode with China, Russia and Germany filling the void we leave behind. No longer is the US an initiator of events, but a monkey wrench. Trump once again signed off on the Iranian nuclear deal despite his voluble misgivings, but all the other countries involved want at this point is his signature.
Simply put, the US is no longer a player on the world stage. It is a bystander. Yes, Trump can get rowdy at times as he has done with North Korea, but whatever strategy that still remains in place is guarded by the Pentagon. Trump has no real interest in what is going on around the world, except as to how it relates to his business interests. Diplomacy is a thing of the past, which is why his embassy and "shithole countries" comments are perfectly in keeping with his puerile mindset.
The funny thing is that no one really cares anymore other than to affirm their views on Trump. This was certainly the case with Sadiq Khan, who hailed the cancellation as Trump getting the message that London doesn't want him. Madame Tussands couldn't resist the opportunity to park his wax likeness in front of the embassy.
At this point, no one wants him. To use Jesse Waters' analogy, I imagine much of the "bar talk" these days is how do we get rid of Trump, as you would an unruly patron who has obviously had way too much to drink and is embarrassing everyone around him.