For whatever reason the real Donald Trump decided to fire off an early morning tweet about John Podesta:
What it means is anyone's guess? Maybe it was just the first thing that popped into his head at 3:40 am or he was just hoping to deflect attention away from the limited role he would be playing at his first G20 summit. I guess it depends on whether you view Trump in the middle stage of dementia or see him as the ultimate Machiavellian politician.
House Democrats are leaning to the former with a group of representatives having put forward a request to establish an 11-member commission to determine Trump's state of mind. However, news pundits like Rachel Maddow seem to think Trump is playing a very clever game here, leading us to ponder if Trump is a genius or a senile old man.
My guess is that the tweets are the orchestration of the two Steves: Bannon and Miller. Trump's infamous CNN body slam is what got the House Democrats so agitated. The meme didn't originate from the White House. It was first posted on Reddit by a user dubbed "HanAssSolo," who thinks someone in the WH did the musical scoring. Mr. Solo photoshopped a wrestling match Trump once had with WWE promoter, Vince McMahon. The video dates back to a Wrestlemania episode from 2007.
I don't know what's worse: our president endorses the WWE or that he finds a doctored video like this amusing? We can only speculate what a Congressional special commission might determine as it is highly unlikely the House Republicans will ever approve it.
The Podesta tweet similarly raises eyebrows as you would think this story dead, but here is Trump himself resurrecting it. If the world leaders had anyone else on their minds it was probably Obama or Hillary, as in I wish Obama or Hillary were here instead of that man. But, in Trump's addled mind everyone in Hamburg is talking about John Podesta.
Of course, Podesta wasn't going to let the moment slip away without a response, calling Trump "our whack job." How this furthers Trump's agenda at the G20 summit only Rachel Maddow could tell us in her circumlocutory way. I think I will go with the House Democrats and say that Trump just lost his marbles.
How did we get here? Does it all go back to that time Trump stepped into the ring with Vince McMahon and shaved off his hair? Or, to the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner where Obama took down Trump in front of the entertainment world? Or, the catchy red trucker's cap he used to connect to the underbelly of America?
Whatever the case we have been dealt a very bad hand. While Trump was having his epic meeting with Putin, the EU struck huge trade deals with Japan and Canada, and is actively courting China. Russia also sealed a deal with China while Trump was visiting Poland. The EU-Japan deal has to hurt as Trump thought he was BFF with Shinzo Abe after his 19-second handshake back in February.
It seems everyone has caught onto Trump's signature handshake. Even Vlad made sure to step into his handshake so that Trump couldn't pull him in like a fish on a reel. All Donnie could manage was a rather weak pat on the back in a lame effort to show his dominance.
These tactics are perfect for the world of wrestling entertainment, but don't play well on an international stage. Calling out political opponents like a wrestler before a big match or turning a handshake into a test of virility are all things we expect from Wrestlemania but not from the President of the United States. Trump, however, has no problem conflating the two.
Part of it is because his two Steves tell him it plays well to his devoted twitter following. The other is that this is all Trump knows. He lives in a world where hype sells and honestly thinks he can bring this style of deal making to the world diplomatic stage.
It doesn't matter that he has yet to strike a major trade deal of his own or that world leaders make fun of him. Trump creates his own version of events and serves it up in easily digestible 140-character "news bites" to his following on twitter, which news networks then "retweet" to a much broader audience. We are forced in turn to respond to these tweets as John Podesta was, fully knowing that it is an act of folly.
Team Trump works on the theory that they can bury any real story by getting the media to focus on their president's tweets. How many people will ever know that the EU has signed these major trade agreements, looking all the more like the world's leading power broker, while the US slides backward in foreign standing.
With these massive trade deals the EU will most likely surpass the US in terms of GDP and China will soon do the same. At some point Trump will have to explain to his following why this is the case and he won't have John Podesta to fall back on.