Greetings from Davos

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Donald Trump went to the World Economic Forum to create a distraction from his impeachment trial, but it looks more like the trial created a distraction from his screw-ups in Davos.  After a book came out that told the story of how the president called ‘his’ generals ‘dopes and babies,’ adding ‘I’m not going to war with you’ – something they knew already because they were all in Vietnam, as Bill Maher observed – and reported that Trump didn’t know what exactly happened at Pearl Harbor and got stuck trying to read the Constitution because ‘it’s written like a foreign language,’ the US President apparently expected to meet with his Iranian counterpart in Davos, something that was never in the works.  Instead he met with the leader of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq, whom he mistook for the leader of the Syrian Kurds and thanked for his cooperation after the departure of American troops, adding ‘we kept the oil.’ It was a reminder of the time Trump told India’s Prime Minister Modi that his country doesn’t border on China, and showed how he is struggling with geographic information and thinks all Kurds are the same.

In Davos the president took sole credit for the state of the US economy, which he assessed by just referring to the stock market and the unemployment rate, ignoring the damage his tariffs have done to farmers and how they caused a decline in manufacturing employment, as well as the fact that wages are barely rising and the gap between rich and poor is widening.  Avoiding the topic of climate change directly Trump bragged that America has the cleanest air and water in the world, although research shows the air is becoming more polluted and just this week the administration rolled back clean water protections Obama had put in place.  On the bright side, the president promised to join an effort to plant one trillion trees, which finally gave his audience reason to modestly applaud him.  Trump’s presentation was followed by the usual ludicrous statements: he said that the brain damage US servicemen had suffered during the recent Iranian rocket attacks was not serious enough to be considered an injury and claimed that an American had invented the wheel.  Leaving Davos he announced future cuts in Social Security and Medicare.

Since he had kept an eye on the trial in DC the president could report that his team of lawyers and the ‘I did it, so what’ defense were doing very well, primarily because ‘we have all the documents, they have nothing,’ which once more illustrated the correctness of the second Article of Impeachment.  He added that he would have preferred a long trial with witnesses but that for national security reasons that was unfortunately not possible.  Calling his Democratic accusers ‘sleazebags’ Trump lied that he would have loved to attend the trial and face the House managers.

In spite of his stated satisfaction with the trial, which has to be taken with a grain of salt because his lawyers are not exactly performing up to snuff for a client who prefers actors over experts, the president cannot be all that happy with recent polling.  According to CNN and Pew Research polls a majority of Americans wants him to be removed from office, and a much larger majority – including a sizeable percentage of Republicans – wants a trial with witnesses and documents.

In what he probably still considers a good week Trump set two records that will never be broken:  during the first three years of his presidency he made 16,241 false statements, raising his daily average to 14.83, and on Wednesday alone he released 141 tweets.  And to prove what a spiteful miser he is the president reversed Michelle Obama’s healthy school lunch rules ‘unintentionally’ on her birthday.

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