Nearly a week later and that mind-blowing press availability with Donald J. Trump and Vladimir Putin is still the talk of the town.
Or the nation. Maybe the world.
I’m still trying to make sense of it. I’m trying to determine what in the world is rattling around in the president’s noggin. I’m trying to figure out why in the name of bilateral relations he didn’t call Putin out for what damn near everyone on Earth knows he did: the Russian president orchestrated the cyber attack on our electoral system in 2016.
I’m still not ready to say that Trump has broken the law and committed an act of treason for which he could be prosecuted, convicted and given the ultimate sentence … of death.
But damn! As former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates said this week, Trump might be the first president in history who isn’t “all in” with regard to standing up for the United States of America.
I believe she is correct. Trump’s hideous disparaging of our intelligence agencies and his acceptance of Putin’s denial that he attacked our electoral system spoke volumes about the president’s commitment to the nation he governs. It’s not there!
Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. As many of us have noted — and I’m one of them — Trump entered the 2016 campaign after never run for any public office of any kind. Public service is a totally foreign concept to this guy. He gauges every move, every decision, every action on its impact on his poll standing, or his “ratings.”
Then we have that Helsinki event. The president who vowed to “get tough” with our adversaries has gotten soft. The president who said he would “make America great again” has made America the world’s laughingstock. The man who vowed to “put America first” has now put our foes first, starting with Russia.
All the while he keeps yapping and yammering about “rigged witch hunts” while getting angry when his Cabinet doesn’t fawn over his every pronouncement.
And he keeps lying.
My head is about to explode.
I have some friends around the world who I simply know are laughing their backsides off at my country.
They live in Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, Israel and Greece. Yes, even my Greek friends — who live in a country that has embodied political dysfunction in recent years — must be chuckling over their ouzo.
My German and Australian friends are journalists; they have spent many years watching the United States. My Dutch friend is a lawyer who also possesses a keen interest in policy and history. My Israeli friends are a more eclectic bunch, as are my Greek friends; but they are well-educated and sophisticated.
Our government is shut down. Senators and House members are haggling with each other. Meanwhile, the president — who campaigned loudly and boastfully about his ability to make “the best deals” — is remarkably disengaged from the nuts and bolts of this charade.
Donald J. Trump boasted about how he would “put America first.” The implication was that he doesn’t care what the rest of the world thinks of the country he was elected to lead. I believe he should care.
This is a small and shrinking world. Nations are increasingly dependent on each other. Trump also said he wanted to “make America great again,” but I feel compelled to say — yet again — that this already is a great nation. We are the most powerful militarily and we possess a seriously strong economy.
It matters that our inability to fund our government beyond these ridiculous stop-gap “continuing resolutions.” The rest of the world is watching — and laughing.
I know this because I am utterly certain my own friends abroad are howling as they watch our government “leaders” writhe and squirm while they hurl insults at each other.
This is no way to achieve American greatness.
Donald John Trump vowed to “put America first” as he ran for president of the United States.
What’s been the cost of that vow? Here’s a fascinating indicator: According to the Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index, the U.S. standing among world nations has plummeted from No. 1 to No. 6 among the world’s best nations. The fall has occurred in just a single year.
The index measures nations along several metrics: governance, tourism, culture, people, immigration/investment.
Which nation is No. 1 in the world? Germany.
Are we making America ‘great again’?
So, you’re asking: What’s the cause of the decline in our country’s standing among the world’s best nations? The answer? Donald Trump!
The president’s public statements since taking office, in my view at least, have undermined the U.S. standing all along the way. He has berated our allies and cozied up to dictators and strong men.
He did return from his 12-day, five-nation trip to Asia and proclaimed that the U.S. standing in Asia is stronger than ever. The Anholt-GfK study would seem to disprove that assertion.
It’s also fair to ask about what this index means. What tangible impact does this survey mean to any nation? I suppose one measure can be found in international leaders’ trust. Do other nations’ leaders trust the United States to keep its word? Can the world trust the world’s greatest nation — and I do consider the country of my birth to be the world’s most indispensable nation — to stand with allies?
The consequences of a lack of trust might be difficult to measure in quantifiable terms immediately, but the so-called Trump Effect as registered in this latest index tells me that “putting America first” is coming with a cost to America’s standing among the world’s family of nations.
Donald J. Trump pledged to “put America first” while he ran for the presidency.
It sold his pitch along the campaign trail. Guess what? He is governing under a policy of “blaming America first.”
The president is in Asia. He went to the People’s Republic of China and praised the Chinese government for “taking advantage” of the United States in piling up a huge trade surplus with this country. He also pledged to end that trend and vowed to restore some semblance of trade balance between the two economic powers.
Still, he blamed U.S. trade policy.
Then he ventured to Vietnam to attend a summit of foreign leaders. He shook hands with Vladimir Putin, who told the president — allegedly! — that the Russian government did not interfere with the U.S. presidential election in 2016. Trump accepted Putin’s assertion at face value.
When the Russian strongman says something, he “means it,” according to Trump. Oh, but what about the intelligence agencies who say the opposite, that the Russians did interfere and hacked into our electoral system? Trump calls former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI director James Comey and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper “political hacks.”
What the hell …
He’s blaming America first, not “putting America first.”
I’m old enough to remember the 1984 GOP presidential nominating convention. The keynote speech at that event came from Jeane Kirkpatrick, the nation’s United Nations ambassador. She brought the house down by chastising who she called the “San Francisco Democrats” who were all too willing to “blame America first.”
I’m trying to imagine how the late ambassador would react to a president of her own party doing the very thing for which she once blistered the Democratic Party.