Tag Archives: G20

Trump talks to Putin? Big deal; just no press conferences

The White House has confirmed that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin talked to each other at the G20 conference in Buenos Aires.

In keeping with my pledge to go soft on the president and Putin for the time being, I’ll merely say: So what? Big f****** deal, man!

Trump and Putin were two of the many world leaders who gathered to talk to each other about a whole host of issues. Trump had canceled the one-on-one meeting with Putin ostensibly over the Russians’ aggression in the Black Sea against Ukrainian navy ships. There well might be some domestic concerns coming into play. Whatever.

That the U.S. president and the Russian president talked to each other doesn’t necessarily portend another embarrassment for Donald Trump, as did the Helsinki summit the men conducted.

At least they won’t appear together in a press conference.

Undisclosed meeting? What are we supposed to think?

Donald J. Trump and Vladimir Putin had another meeting recently that no one knew about … until now.

Hmmm. And the president continues to keep secrets that need not be kept? Is that what’s going on here?

The two presidents met for more than two hours in Hamburg, Germany the other day. Trump “pressed” the Russian president on whether his government interfered with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Putin reportedly denied any such involvement. Of course he would deny it.

Then the men shook hands and went their separate ways. Then Trump decided to meet privately with Putin for more than an hour. The only other person in the room was Putin’s translator.

What did they talk about? What do the heads of state of two of the world’s most powerful nations say to each other? Did any of it — anything at all — have something to do with that “Russia thing,” the hacking into our electoral process?

They call this kind of thing “rolling disclosure.” It lends itself to whispering, conjecture, speculation. They only way for any of that to be dispelled is for the principals to tell the public in a forthright manner what they discussed and the context that they discussed it.

According to The Washington Post: “But Trump’s newly-disclosed conversation with Putin at the G20 dinner is likely to stoke further criticism, including perhaps from some fellow Republicans in Congress, that he is too cozy with the leader of a major U.S. adversary.”

Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry sought to brush the questions aside, suggesting that “other media” are casting this secret meeting in a negative light. There could be an explanation, Henry said.

Sure thing, hoss. Then we need to know precisely what these two world leaders said to each other. Absent that, what is the world expected to think?


Did POTUS strengthen U.S. at G20?

Donald Trump has been home for a couple of days, so it’s good to look back just a bit at his second overseas trip as president of the United States.

Did the president strengthen the U.S. standing in the world? Do our allies and our foes see us as stronger now that Trump is president?

I cannot possibly believe that is the case. Indeed, much of the chatter since the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany has centered on Trump’s isolation from the rest of the world.

He has pulled the United States out of the Paris climate change accord, and has been condemned roundly by virtually every other nation in the world that remains committed to the accord. And get a load of this: The other two nations that didn’t sign on in the first place — Nicaragua and Syria — refused because the accord didn’t go far enough. Trump’s reason? He wants to protect U.S. jobs he said are being harmed by onerous regulations.

Then we have that meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump reportedly “pressed” Putin on reports of Russian meddling in our 2016 presidential election. Putin denied it. Then we heard that Trump and Putin had agreed on a joint effort to crack down on cyber-hacking — which is akin to asking Latin American drug lords to craft a plan to stop drug trafficking into the United States.

Trump’s emphasis on “putting America first” isn’t playing well in a world with nations that are increasingly connected. His pre-summit statements about Germany, China, Mexico, Canada and Australia haven’t been forgotten by those countries’ heads of state and government.

Have we restored American greatness on the world stage?

No. Indeed, I believe the president has reduced our once-starring role as the world’s most indispensable nation to second-tier status.

Ivanka steps in … way over her head?

Ivanka Trump went to work over the weekend with her father, the president of the United States.

Why, she even got to sit at the grownups’ table during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

The presence of this unqualified individual at the table did not go unnoticed by many of Donald Trump’s fellow world leaders.

The custom at meetings such as this is for a head of state to summon a senior staffer or someone with some clout to sit in while “the boss” steps away. Does Ivanka fit that bill?

Does the first daughter have any expertise in, say, anything related to geopolitics or international economics? Let me think about that. Umm. No. None. Zero.

As Politico reported: “U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley defended the first daughter’s actions Saturday, stressing that she has focused on important issues like female entrepreneurship, poverty and famine.”

Politico went on: “‘She’s got her certain issues that she focuses on and when those things come up then that’s where she is,’ the ambassador said during an interview with CBS set to air Sunday, adding that the first daughter is ‘very well accepted nationally and internationally.'”

I think perhaps Ambassador Haley is spinning that just a bit.

Indeed, why couldn’t she have taken the president’s place at the table?

The president has placed far too much clout in his daughter’s hands. For that matter, he has done the same with Ivanka Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, the young man with zero foreign policy experience but who now is entrusted to broker a Middle East peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Good … grief!

Ivanka’s brief stint at the G20 meeting serves only to demonstrate — yet again! — that her father doesn’t know what he’s doing.

Trump tweets about this on eve of big meeting?

Donald J. Trump had a full day that began with a typically bizarre fit of petulance from the president of the United States.

Trump was set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. They talked about Russian meddling with U.S. electoral processes; they announced a cease fire in parts of Syria; they agreed to move forward with bilateral relations.

Big stuff, right?

So what does the president tweet about this morning? He launched into a Twitter tirade against former Hillary Clinton campaign director John Podesta. Trump said “everybody” at the G20 summit he is attending is “talking about” Podesta and that ridiculous e-mail controversy that engulfed the Clinton campaign.

Everybody is talking about it? Every(bleeping)body, Mr. President?

I’m not going to dive into the details of what Trump tweeted. I do feel the need to wonder: What goes through the president’s mind when he is facing such a huge bilateral meeting? Can’t this guy focus on the issue of the day — which has done at all to do with Podesta, Hillary Clinton, or e-mails?

Podesta fired back. He called Trump a “whack job.”

I’ll just conclude that the president lacks anything approaching the kind of singular focus he needs to meet the huge challenges of the office he occupies.

POTUS’s team slow on hotel booking? What the … ?

This one almost defies any kind of comment — but I’ll try anyway.

Donald Trump’s White House team reportedly damn near couldn’t get the president of the United States a hotel room in Hamburg, Germany, where he’s set to attend the most crucial meetings of his still-brief time as president.

They waited too long.

I’m trying to imagine how the president of the world’s most powerful nation can be denied a room in a hotel as he prepares to be one of the key players in an amazing international geopolitical drama. He is set to meet at the G20 summit with leaders of the world’s 20 largest economic powers. One of them happens to be Russian President Vladimir Putin, who’s been in the news of late regarding his country’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

How does that happen? How does the White House botch this arrangement … allegedly?

Read Buzzfeed story here.

Is this yet another example of how the president described his White House operation as a “fine-tuned machine”?

If so, then this man needs yet another reality check.