Trust President Donald Trump to get it wrong. He thinks of President Theodore Roosevelt’s White House ‘bully pulpit’ as a place to bully other world leaders. What Roosevelt saw as a great place from which to show strong leadership, Trump seems to think of it as a safe haven from which to insult others.
There was a wonderful picture from the G7 summit in La Malbaie going the rounds on the Internet that had been doctored to show Trump sitting in a high chair with a bowl of spaghetti overturned on his head. He is being confronted in the picture by Angela Merkel of Germany, Shinzō Abe of Japan and the head of the European Union. That picture certainly says volumes about the G7 meeting!
But what a waste Trump makes of the White House as a bully pulpit.
And for Trump and his acolytes in the White House to be ridiculing the prime minister of Canada is both rude and stupid. Trump is creating a rift with the six other most powerful and progressive countries in the world. The G7 has become the G6 plus one outlier. And Trump needed to understand that if he did not like Trudeau’s agenda for the meeting, there was lots of opportunity to add other subjects. In fact, world trade did get an airing.
Maybe Trump was frustrated by being with people he could not bully.
But, also, who would be so stupid as to deliberately insult your next-door neighbours? Canada and the United States of America have been good friends for over 150 years. Even the staunchest of Trump’s followers would have trouble understanding his tweets against Canada. And he would hear about it if half a million Canadian snow-birds stopped going to Florida each winter.
And yet in a meeting with Trudeau, Trump accused Canadians of burning down the White House in 1812. All Trudeau had time to say was “No we did not.” He wanted to correct Trump with the fact that it was the British who burnt Washington, only after the Americans set fire to Fort York—which later became the city of Toronto.
One of the apologists for Donald Trump in the U.S. went on TV on Sunday with the suggestion that Trump needed to look strong for the meeting with Kim Jong Un. If Trump needs to put down the entire G7 to make himself seem more important, the U.S. is in more trouble than we thought.
Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry
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