The Art of Making Friends

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

This week Trump lost one friend and he found another.  After he left the G7 meeting the president decided that the US would not sign the closing statement because the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, had repeated at a press conference what he had said all along, that his country would respond to American tariffs with tariffs of its own.  Trump called Trudeau ‘weak, meek and very dishonest,’ while of his economic advisors Larry Kudlow called Trudeau ‘a backstabber’ and Peter Navarro said that there was ‘a special place in hell’ for Trudeau.  Subsequently Kudlow had a heart attack and Navarro had to apologize, but the damage to the western alliance was done, fulfilling Putin’s wildest dreams.  Trump would have wanted Putin to attend the meeting and restore the G7 to G8, so that in informal conversations he could have asked ‘Vlad, would you get out of Crimea, please, and get out of Ukraine?’ Convinced that that would have worked the president turned his attention to his next project, a meeting with Kim Jong-un.  He was as usual minimally prepared, but convinced that he could wing it.  ‘My touch, my feel’ has always served me well, he told the press.

After the president met with the Korean dictator, leader of the most repressive and cruel regime in the world, he said that it had been an honor to meet Kim, called him ‘very talented and funny’ and praised Kim’s ‘great personality.’  When asked about the terror Kim Jong-un exercises and the hardship he imposes on the North Koreans Trump called Kim ‘tough,’ but declared that he ‘loves his people.’  The president also called Kim a great negotiator, and there he may have had a point because it soon became clear that Kim had taken Trump to the Korean cleaners.  The joint statement only mentioned Kim’s intention to denuclearize the peninsula, without a time table or a verification process, while Trump, after already having given Kim equal footing on the world stage, announced that major US-South Korean military exercises, the ‘war games,’ would be halted, a longtime North Korean demand, even taking over North Korea’s rhetoric by calling them ‘provocative.’  Back home the president reiterated his deep and unabashed appreciation for the fact that Kim is a ‘leader for life, whose people sit up in attention when he speaks.’  If only we could have that here, you could almost hear him think, and then he even said it.

The long awaited report by the Inspector General of the Justice Department confirmed that there had been no grounds for prosecuting Hillary Clinton for the use of a private email server, but faulted James Comey for having violated protocol by talking twice publicly about the Clinton investigation, probably costing her the election.  Because of anti-Trump text messages between two FBI employees that verifiably did not affect the FBI’s behavior Rudy Giuliani demanded that the Mueller probe immediately be stopped and Mueller investigated.

Jeff Sessions and Sarah Sanders got themselves into hot water by invoking the Bible to defend the administration’s inhumane policy to separate asylum seeking parents from their children at the  border.  True to form Trump lied that these separations are mandated by law and caused by Democrats who don’t want to close legal loopholes.  Even Franklin Graham, Billy’s son and by no means a progressive, has called the policy un-Christian.

On the legal front the Trump Foundation, the president and his three oldest children were indicted for flagrant violations of New York State Law.  Paul Manafort was put in jail for witness tampering and Michael Cohen could soon be indicted, which scares the crap out of Trump.  On the bright side, Ivanka took $4 million profit out of Trump’s DC hotel.

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