Monday, May 29, 2017

Modest Proposal

Pope Francis "appearing to make amends" with President Trump. with two unidentified Spanish princesses visiting from 1957.
Washington Post's "The Fix" may be even dumber without Chris Cillizza than with him, as Armando points out:


Borchers explains, for one thing,
Trump's trip did divide the media's attention, however, which for the White House may have been a welcome change from the singular focus of the week leading up to departure.
A welcome change always helps!
What's more, the story lines generated by the president's first overseas excursion were often positive or, at least, neutral. Sure, the press got a laugh out of Trump's participation in that Saudi sword dance and first lady Melania Trump's apparent hand swat in Israel. But those little episodes were not indictments of policy or temperament; they were just kind of funny.
And it generated some non-negative story lines! Ton of laughs when he forgot where he was in the middle of a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and waddled away, needing to be carefully steered back by staff, like a whale that has inadvertently floated into a harbor.

Though by the time he got to Europe, sponsoring the leakage of all sorts of material from the Manchester terror investigation and unable to affirm the NATO Article 5 commitment or the 175-nation Paris agreement on climate change, causing visible anguish in the faces of his fellow leaders with his physical rudeness and moral and mental cluelessness, and putt-putting in his golf cart in the rear as the other leaders used their legs to tour the ancient streets of Taomina, the humor was beginning to run a little thin for some of us.

But hey, the Saudis were "warm" to the president, Netanyahu was glad to say that "intelligence cooperation is terrific, and it's never been better" in spite of the fact that Trump passed some secret Israeli information to the Russian ambassador (that's a Bibi lie: in fact it infuriated Israeli intelligence and they have been obliged to change the protocols of information sharing with the US in order to maintain control over their secrets), and he and the Pope "appeared to make amends" (or, as The Economist wrote, "they stuck to safe topics").

And then
let's not overlook the likelihood that yanking Trump out of his cable news cocoon was a very good thing for his blood pressure. Trump tends to veer into trouble when he watches the news — and reacts in real time on Twitter. The president maintained a no-drama Twitter stream during his time abroad, when he was unable to start his days with “Fox & Friends,” which seems like no coincidence.
I won't deny that was good for his image.
Also, Trump's foreign trip meant a hiatus for daily White House press briefings, which were becoming increasingly contentious before he left.
Well, there you have the little flaw in Mr. Borchers's interesting hypothesis, which is that he eventually had to come home. Instead of his warm welcome from the Saudi royal family and the chummy homosocial environment of sword dances and Toby Keith concerts, he is confronted by demands that he say something about the Oregon heroes, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche (23) and Ricky John Best (53) who were murdered on Friday as they tried to defend a Muslim teenager from a white supremacist knife attacker and enthusiastic Trump supporter on a Portland commuter train (he did end up saying something, or rather the people who run his little-used official White House @POTUS Twitter account did it for him, still not mentioning their names). Instead of having his morning activities carefully planned scheduled, he's back in a time zone where he can wake up to Fox News and start sending tweets on his own reckless initiative:

Demonstrating once again that either nobody has told him what's in the tax cut health care bill he's been urging Congress to pass (which takes some $800 billion from health care to give it to Donald and his billionaire friends) or they did tell him and he literally can't remember, or he's dumb enough to think he can lie about this successfully (I guess with the Trumpian base he can, but it's getting smaller every day now).

Visiting Saudi Arabia and those other places may have given him some temporary relief from his sorrows, but you can't really call it "helping" unless it has some longer-lasting benefits.

Which brings me to my modest proposal: He ought to spend the rest of his presidency in Dubai, where he already has a nice hotel to spend his nights in and a world-class golf course ("exceeding all expectations," the promo copy says), friends like Erik Prince and the real estate tycoon Hussain Saljwani, and Fox & Friends comes on the air at two in the afternoon, when he's safely out puttering around the links.

You could be a great president, Donald, or shall we say emperor, if you just stop doing everything you do!

Trump International Golf Club, Dubai, UAE.

Cross-posted at The Rectification of Names.

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