Saturday, April 28, 2018
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
This past week His Trumpness hosted both Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel. It was clear who his favorite is, presenting his first state dinner in the White House for the French President, which seemed largely designed to spotlight Melania in her glittering sleeveless silver dress. Remember all the flack Michelle got for her bare arms? Unfortunately, Merkel is left with sloppy seconds.
While Macron was warm and generous in his kisses, he made it very clear in his speech before Congress that he in no way supports Trump's scorched earth policy. In fact he called Trump's environmental record "insane," albeit with a wink. So how do these two get along?
I suppose Macron knows how to butter Trump up in private, lavishing praise on him, which is what he wants to hear most. Merkel is not so good at this. I suppose it is her East German upbringing or maybe her background in physics. She treats Trump as one would an anomaly in science, like a flannel moth caterpillar.
She made a game effort last year to educate Trump on matters of trade and the environment but to no avail. For his part, Macron hasn't succeeded in turning Trump either. Even John Oliver has joined the effort to properly inform Trump on international agreements with his now famous "catheter cowboy." However, the President still says ixnay on the Paris Trade Agreement, and doesn't look like he is going to ratify the Iran Nuclear Deal in May, despite Pompeo's assurances, ending a precarious agreement that has stalled Iran's nuclear ambitions.
It's nice to know that world leaders are still trying to reach out to Trump, but this is a man with much more important matters on his mind, like what to do about Stormy Daniels, and how the Democrats are blocking all his appointments.
The Paris Climate Agreement no longer registers in his mind. He has left it up to Scott Pruitt to gut the EPA, who now finds himself under a probe into the cushy apartment deal he got in DC last year. There have also been inquiries into his environmental policies, especially those regarding his rather tenuous grasp of science, but for the most part Pruitt is being grilled on his lack of ethics.
This pretty much sums up the entire White House. Perhaps the last honest man standing is General Mattis, who finds himself in a Mexican standoff with John Bolton over recent hirings. It's clear Trump wants a much more aggressive foreign policy than the one he had before and Mattis is in the unenviable spot of having to work between hardliners Bolton and Pompeo, who was recently confirmed by the Senate as the new Secretary of State.
Trump seems to think that all his bluster brought North Korea to the negotiating table, but if he tears up the Iran Nuclear Deal, what assurances does he give the "honorable" leader of North Korea that he won't tear up that deal too, if it doesn't suit him. The US is playing a very small role in the summit taking place on the Korean peninsula.
As you might recall, he chastised Rex Tillerson for "wasting his time" on North Korea back in October, anxious I guess to see who had the bigger trigger finger. He diverted an ambassador from Australia to South Korea only two days ago, so that he would have an official on hand for the negotiations, showing just how unprepared the White House was for this summit.
I really don't know what kind of conversation Macron and Merkel can have with Trump, since he seems so uninterested in global issues other than how they relate directly to him. You have to give them an A for effort.