America’s President isolated: Trump must be helped to see reality

WHEN NBC spokesman Mark Kornblau said recently he “never imagined a day when I would think to myself, ‘it is beneath my dignity to respond to the President of the United States’,” over President Trump’s attacks on journalist Mika Brzezinski — who Mr Trump described as “low IQ, crazy Mika” and as “bleeding badly from a face-lift” at a Mar-a-Lago party — he did what most of us would do when confronted by a boorish bully. He disengaged, hoping not to
exacerbate an ugly situation. That the figure provoking Kornblau’s walk-away is the President of the United States is a tragedy for all of us but particularly for America.

Kornblau’s response was adopted by 19 world leaders at the G20 summit in Hamburg where Mr Trump cut an isolated, or, as he might say himself, a “sad” figure. His peers, outraged by his flat-earther’s rejection of the Paris climate deal cold-shouldered him in a way that even his most gung-ho, Merika! Merika! Merika! predecessors never experienced. He may have worn their disdain as a badge of honour but in an ever more volatile world we cannot afford to have the world superpower go on a solo run to only God knows where. Any antipathy they might have felt towards him may have distilled into something more potent when he sent his daughter Ivanka — the first daughter — to represent him at a meeting while he was engaged elsewhere. This showed a depth of incomprehension beyond anything Mr Trump has already shown. It is another indication of the contempt he feels for the structures of the democratic, civilised world — a contempt not seen since Europe’s monarchies believed they had been ordained by God to rule in perpetuity.

Ivanka’s over-reach pales into insignificance compared to the difficulties caused for the president by his son Donald. Unsurprisingly Mr Trump used the nothing-to-see-here defence when it emerged that his son had met a Russian lawyer during last year’s election campaign. The president, under criminal investigation in the affair, might have fobbed off questions about the meeting but a video came to light yesterday which shows how very forgetful Mr Trump may have been. The video, reportedly shot in Las Vegas in 2013, shows Mr Trump dining with the Azerbaijani-Russian family who would later offer information on Hillary Clinton. If these
exchanges are substantiated then the words “Trump”, “presidency” and “unsustainable” are likely to run together more often than is healthy for his administration. In the face of such an avalanche, Mr Trump’s assertions that the mood in the White House is “fantastic” and that his administration was “functioning beautifully” are hardly credible and add to the growing sense that he is already an isolated figure.

French President Emmanuel Macron has recognised this and yesterday when he marked a visit to France by Mr Trump for Bastille Day celebrations he tried to rebuild bridges. It is easier to imagine how the Bastille Day revolutinaries might have treated Mr Trump than it is to imagine how that objective might be achieved. Despite that, tempering Mr Trump’s wildest, most dangerous imaginings is one of the great challenges of our day.


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