[World leaders do not respect nor trust President Trump; they are patronizing him while biding their time]

— RECENT HEADLINES —
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President Donald Trump returned home Nov. 14, 2017, from his 12-day tour of Asian countries: Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Donald and many other Republicans often falsely accused President Obama of conducting an “Apology Tour” of other countries after his election. This week, our new president completed his Embarrassment Tour.

World leaders do not respect nor trust President Trump for the same reasons two-thirds of Americans don’t. His The Art of the Deal persona has been proved pure fiction. The Art of Say Anything but Don’t Keep Your Side of the Bargain, however, is front and center. Republican congressional leaders know this. Most Trump voters should know this by now if they allowed facts and reality to influence their thinking.



The president lies pathologically. The president is ignorant of the world and governing, and has no desire to learn. The president is a moral vacuum. World leaders know this. Authoritarians love this. But even autocrats know Donald can’t be trusted and he probably won’t last long. They are patronizing him while biding their time.

Donald is also an overbearing, boorish attention hog. Remember back in May 2017 when he was caught on video blatantly pushing Montenegro’s Prime Minister Dusko Markovic out of the way so Trump could be front-and-center for a NATO photo-op? — then struck a moronic I’m-important-and-I’m-supposed-to-be-in-front-and-everyone-knows-that pose? This was one of President Trump’s first major appearances on the world stage, and he essentially wet his pants on the dais and insulted NATO’s wife. He is America’s embarrassing oaf.

Many (of my several hundred million readers) will simply label me a Trump-hater and dismiss my characterizations. But I don’t make these lightly. The president is a dangerous embarrassment to the United States and he demonstrates it almost daily. One of my goals is to illuminate some specifics for readers who might not follow the presidency and current events every day or hour. I respect those who can turn it off for a while. But many people need a periodic compilation update. Because we must never make this president’s behavior normal, or take it for granted, or become desensitized to it. Our government’s future depends upon vigilance.

Japan

President Trump arrived in Japan Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. He kicked off his Asia Embarrassment Tour with a campaign-style rally for American and Japanese troops stationed there. Notably missing from the crowd were MAGA (“Make America Great Again”) hats and Rope-Tree-Journalist T-shirts. But in standard form, Mr. Trump bragged about himself in the guise of bragging about America: “We are back home starting to do, I will tell you — and you’re reading, and you’re seeing — really, really well … since a very, very special day — it’s called Election Day.”

Spit it out Mr. President. As he is prone to do, Trump once again credited himself for the sturdy economy, strong stock market, and declining unemployment rate that his predecessor, President Obama, bequeathed to him. With some gains since “Election Day,” Trump takes credit for the New York Stock Exchange and the Industrial Revolution.

President Trump played golf and ate steaks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Kasumigaseki Country Club. (— true). MAGA-style hats were passed out, this time with the cutesy slogan twist “Donald and Shinzo: Make Alliance Even Greater.” (— true). The president razzed Abe for not owning his own country club. Donald complained about the slow greens. He snuck three mulligans. And he tried to make a deal with Kasumigaseki to add Trump Steaks, Wine, and Water to the menu. He would throw in a complimentary framed Time magazine cover. (— writer’s embellishment).



In a classic BBC-style, from-outside-the-borders view of America, a Japanese commentator observed:

“Prime Minister Abe is called a trainer of wild animals. And the world is watching how he does with President Trump.”

(Hirai, Fumio; Fuji TV; as cited in Hirschfeld, Julie; “Trump Opens Asia Trip Talking Tough in Campaign-Style Rally”; The New York Times; 11/5/2017.)

Also on Sunday, North Korea’s government newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, issued a statement: “We warn Trump’s coteries once again. If they want to avoid ruin, do not make reckless remarks.”

When asked if President Trump would tone down his normally inflammatory epithets and taunts of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un while visiting the Asian countries, National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster said, “The president will use whatever language he wants to use, obviously.”

That’s what we’re afraid of, H. R.

South Korea

On Monday afternoon, Air Force One landed in South Korea. Presidents Donald Trump and Moon Jae-in had lunch with a group of military troops from both countries at Camp Humphreys, which is 60 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone and home to 30,000 U.S. military personnel. Said Mr. Trump, “I had a choice of having a beautiful, very fancy lunch and I said no, I want to eat with the troops and we ate with the troops.”

After small talk with the grunts, Trump and Moon had their real (“beautiful, very fancy”) lunch at the Blue House, the South Korean presidential mansion. Donald was greeted with protesters’ signs reading “No War” and “No Trump.” To be fair, other people in the street waved South Korean and American flags.

President Trump later commented on the massive expansion of Camp Humphreys, which will be complete in 2020: “I know what it cost, and it’s a lot of money. And I’m sure I could have built it for a lot less.”

Mr. Wheeler-dealer, always the pitchman. But Donald, they need the toilets to flush and the roof not to leak. This isn’t one of your housing projects in Queens.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump spoke to the South Korean National Assembly. After an October 2017 tweet to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that “he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” Trump appealed to North Korea’s softer side with an offer of diplomacy while also warning, “Do not underestimate us. Do not try us.”

Orville Schell, an expert in Asia culture and policy, lauded Mr. Trump’s speech: “It was hard-hitting, it was coherent, and he stuck to the teleprompter.”

Only in the Trump era can “he stuck to the teleprompter” be considered high praise. Translated, this means, “Donald stuck to the safe pabulum his speechwriters wrote and didn’t adlib anything stupidly provocative that might get us all killed.” Apparently, Trump advisers have been pleading with him for months not to invoke his customary schoolyard taunts and put-downs of Kim Jong Un. For the moment, they have succeeded. “Fire and fury” raining down on “Little Rocket Man” will wait for another day.

“In spring 2015, about 88 percent of South Koreans in a Pew Research Center survey said they trusted the American president to ‘do the right thing regarding world affairs.’ Two years later, that share has fallen to 17 percent, according to the center’s global attitudes poll.”

(Bennett, Brian; “Trump Offers North Korea ‘a Path to a Much Better Future’”; Los Angeles Times; 11/7/2017.)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in employed the time-honored diplomatic tactic most effective with The Donald: flattery. Moon rolled out the red carpet and gushed, “You are already making great progress on making America great again.”

They are patronizing him while biding their time.

China

“[President-Elect Trump should] stop acting like the diplomatic rookie he is.”

(China Daily; as cited in John, Tara; “China’s State Media Tells Donald Trump to ‘Stop Acting Like a Diplomatic Rookie’”; Time; 12/6/2016.)

“The obsession with ‘Twitter diplomacy’ is undesirable. … It is commonly accepted that diplomacy is not a child’s game — and even less is it business dealing.”

(Xinhua, most influential Chinese state-run media; as cited in Hunt, Katie; “China Tells Donald Trump to Lay off Twitter”; CNN.com; 1/5/2017.)

Such was the backdrop of China’s respect for Donald Trump before his visit.

At a campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana, May 2, 2016, candidate Trump said this: “We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country. And that’s what they’re doing. It’s the greatest theft in the history of the world.” He’s repeatedly called its government a “currency manipulator.” These statements are representative of Mr. Trump’s consistent angry sentiments toward China.

But after a two-hour meeting Nov. 9, 2017, with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Asia tour China stop, President Trump was absolutely gushing (sorry, I really needed this word again) about what a smart cookie China has been in being able to take advantage of America’s former leaders during trade negotiations: “I don’t blame China. After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for benefit of their citizens? I give China great credit.”

Mr. Trump later told President Xi, “You are a very special man.”

On a serious note, a reporter asked Secretary Tillerson if Trump was kissing Xi’s butt a little too much while in Xi’s country. (The reporter actually referred to being “too deferential.”) Tillerson responded, “I didn’t detect that at all.”

Trump is the classic blowhard who, when face-to-face with the object of his ire, collapses like the bottom line on a Trump casino profit and loss statement. When the president is in Xi’s house, Xi becomes a fellow master of The Art of the Deal and gets nothing but praise from Donald. How much of an empty barrel is this Trump guy? (— no apologies to Chief of Staff John Kelly).

In classic empty-barrel fashion, President Trump tried to take credit for tough-minded trade deals worth more than $200 million, which he claimed to have negotiated during his China stop. But experts in the know say those deals occurred before Trump’s inauguration.

Continuing the theme of pile-on flattery, Donald and Melania were treated to a Chinese “state visit plus,” starting with a lavish government welcome at the Great Hall of the People. They exited the limo to horn players in red uniforms (red, get it?) and took in military bands, ceremonial cannon fire, cheering schoolchildren waving colored pom-poms, and a rare personal tour of the Forbidden City by Xi, himself.

Trump and Xi talked trade. They talked North Korea. They vowed to work together in the “spirit of mutual respect and mutual benefit.” Yada, yada …

Did I mention that Xi is patronizing Donald while biding his time?

Vietnam

“Danang me, Danang me,

They oughta take a rope and hang me”

(— thanks to Adrian Cronauer aka Robin Williams, and Roger Miller)

Issues specific to Vietnam took a backseat during President Trump’s Asian tour Vietnam stop. The People magazine highlights took place at the meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Danang, Vietnam. This is where President Trump informally met with Russia’s President Putin.

The world was on edge Nov. 11, 2017, wondering if Vladimir would finally ‘fess up to getting Donald elected U.S. president. Alas, President Trump relayed the gist of his conversation with Putin to reporters in the press cabin of Air Force One: “He said he didn’t meddle. He said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times. … He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did.”

In a Right back at ya response at his own news conference, Putin said that President Trump “behaves very appropriately.” (Only in the Trump era …)

In other highlights during the flight between Danang and Hanoi, Donald said, “[former FBI Director James] Comey is proven now to be a liar and he is proven now to be a leaker.” Regarding former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan, Trump said, “I mean, give me a break, they are political hacks.” Trump added, “So you look at it, I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper, and you have Comey. So you look at that and you have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had nothing to do with them.”

Brennan, Clapper, and Comey, representing the entire (17-agency) U.S. intelligence community, issued the January 2017 report that describes Russia’s unprecedented interference in the 2016 United States election, to promote electoral chaos and help elect Trump. The entire (17-agency) U.S. intelligence community agrees, with a high level of certainty, that Russia attacked our electoral system, and the orders came from its highest levels of government.

President Trump strengthened his case by adding that Vladimir Putin “is very, very strong in the fact that he didn’t do it. You have President Putin very strongly, vehemently, says he has nothing to do with that. … Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ And I believe, I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it. I think he is very insulted by it.”

One more thing: “There was no collusion; everybody knows there was no collusion,” Trump said. And the dossier is “phony.” And it’s an “artificial Democratic hit job.”

And Ted Cruz’s dad killed JFK (— writer’s embellishment).

As James Hohmann of The Washington Post said, President Trump’s Putin comments make Trump look weak, naïve, waffling, inconsistent, like he’s hiding something, like he undercuts his staff, and like he doesn’t trust U.S. intelligence. (Hohmann, James; “The Daily 202: Six Ways Trump’s Putin Comments on Asia Trip Erode U.S. Credibility”; The Washington Post; 11/13/2017.)

“Trump and his followers are willing to believe anything because they want to believe anything that confirms their counterfactual world. … It renders Trump susceptible — eager, even — to believe our enemies, even — especially! — at the expense of American values, security, and interests. He’s putty in the hands of wily autocrats. He’s therefore the type of target that counterintelligence operatives dream of — an arrogant fool.”

(Rubin, Jennifer, conservative opinion writer; “Russia’s Mark: A Dangerous Fool for a President”; The Washington Post; 11/12/2017.)

Finally, a little more Donald: “Believe it or not, even when I’m in Washington or New York, I do not watch much television. I know they like to say that. People that don’t know me, they like to say I watch television — people with fake sources. You know, fake reporters, fake sources. But I don’t get to watch much television. Primarily because of documents. I’m reading documents. A lot. And different things. I actually read much more.”

The reporters on Air Force One respectfully stifled all spit-takes, guffaws, snickers, and smirks.

Meanwhile, President Trump snuck away from his pesky advisers — you know, those advisers mentioned earlier who “have been pleading with him for months not to invoke his customary schoolyard taunts and put-downs of Kim Jong Un”:

“Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’ Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!”

(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y., U.S. president; Twitter post; 11/12/2017.)

We’re all gonna die.

Philippines

“I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem. Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that.”

(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y., U.S. president; leaked White House transcript of call to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte; 4/29/2017.)

Donald Trump is a fan of dictators and authoritarians like Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Since taking power, Duterte has overseen a campaign of government-condoned vigilante murders of drug dealers, drug users, and anyone that is suspected of being either. The vigilante part, of course, means all these killings are outside of the Philippine judicial system. Several thousand citizens have been executed under this program since Duterte became president in June 2016. Police operations have carried out over a thousand of those murders with no accountability.

“Double your efforts. Triple them, if need be. We will not stop until the last drug lord, the last financier, and the last pusher have surrendered or [been] put behind bars — or below the ground, if they so wish.”

(Duterte, Rodrigo, Philippine president; State of the Nation speech; 7/25/2016.)

Mr. Duterte also has been implicated in many unsolved murders of journalists during his time as Davao City mayor and Philippine president.

“The Philippines ranks as the fifth most dangerous country for journalists, according to a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists. At least 177 Filipino media workers have been killed since 1986. In the past decade, 42 journalists have been killed with total impunity, the report said, and at least four journalists have been killed in the time since Duterte took office in June 2016.”

(Schmidt, Samantha; “Trump Chuckled as Duterte Called Journalists ‘Spies.’ That’s no Joke in the Philippines.”; The Washington Post; 11/14/2017.)

In short, Rodrigo Duterte has condoned thousands of Philippine murders since he took office a year and a half ago. His police are responsible for many of those, and no one has been held accountable for any of them. Even Kim Jong Un is like, “Whoa, Bro, pace yourself.”

In a Manila meeting with President Duterte Monday, Mr. Trump boasted of his “great relationship” with the Philippine strongman. Afterward, during a news conference with U.S. journalists, Trump was asked, in front of Duterte, if he had brought up human rights issues in their meeting. Mr. Duterte cut the reporters off, saying, “Whoa, whoa. This is not a press statement. This is the bilateral meeting. … With you around, guys, you are the spies.”

President Trump laughed — and he never laughs. Donald has a great relationship with Rodrigo. They’re buds now. They can bond and laugh together about believing journalists are rotten spies.

Apparently human rights did not come up in the Trump-Duterte colloquy, in keeping with the president’s prominent non-theme throughout his Asia Embarrassment Tour.

President Duterte famously cussed out President Obama last year for Barack’s criticism of Duterte’s bloody vigilante war on drugs. Obama has these old-fashioned notions about human rights and international norms, which don’t get in Trump’s way. In fact, you know if Obama did it, Trump childishly will do the opposite because he detests his predecessor. Like Mr. Duterte, The Donald despises President Obama’s excellence of character, moral compass, competence, and intelligence.

The new best friends, with a “great relationship,” found more common ground in addition to their loathing of dirty, no-good spying reporters: During their sleepover at Rodrigo’s house, he and Donald gabbed all night about how they hated that bitch, Barack Obama.

BFFs. ■

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Post-Deadline Developments:

“Sen. Al Franken Accused of Sexual Harassment in 2006; He Vehemently Apologizes to Accuser and Calls for Senate Ethics Committee Investigation of Himself” (11/16/2017)