There’s so much unhingery packed into this CNN story on Trump’s phone calls with foreign leaders that choosing among the outrages is kind of like picking your favorite Egyptian plague.
Want a shower of frogs? Fire ‘n’ hailstones? Locusts?
They’re all here, and then some.
So let’s start with this gem, which comes courtesy of at least one of the White House and intelligence sources CNN’s Carl Bernstein spoke with:
But his most vicious attacks, said the sources, were aimed at women heads of state. In conversations with both [Theresa] May and [Angela] Merkel, the President demeaned and denigrated them in diatribes described as “near-sadistic” by one of the sources and confirmed by others. “Some of the things he said to Angela Merkel are just unbelievable: he called her ‘stupid,’ and accused her of being in the pocket of the Russians … He’s toughest [in the phone calls] with those he looks at as weaklings and weakest with the ones he ought to be tough with.”…Trump’s conversations with May, the UK Prime Minister from 2016 to 2019, were described as “humiliating and bullying,” with Trump attacking her as “a fool” and spineless in her approach to Brexit, NATO and immigration matters.
Okay, that’s crazy. But that’s hardly the whole story:
In hundreds of highly classified phone calls with foreign heads of state, President Donald Trump was so consistently unprepared for discussion of serious issues, so often outplayed in his conversations with powerful leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and so abusive to leaders of America’s principal allies, that the calls helped convince some senior US officials — including his former secretaries of state and defense, two national security advisers and his longest-serving chief of staff — that the President himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States, according to White House and intelligence officials intimately familiar with the contents of the conversations.
This is how Donald Trump “negotiates” — as if every friendly foreign leader is an elderly lady whose house he wants to raze so he can build a limousine parking lot.
Then again, autocrats and enemies got the kid-glove treatment. Because of course, they did. CNN reports that Trump’s calls with “Putin and Erdogan were particularly egregious in terms of Trump almost never being prepared substantively and thus leaving him susceptible to being taken advantage of in various ways.”
In his phone exchanges with Putin, the sources reported, the President talked mostly about himself, frequently in over-the-top, self-aggrandizing terms: touting his “unprecedented” success in building the US economy; asserting in derisive language how much smarter and “stronger” he is than “the imbeciles” and “weaklings” who came before him in the presidency (especially Obama); reveling in his experience running the Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow, and obsequiously courting Putin’s admiration and approval. Putin “just outplays” him, said a high-level administration official — comparing the Russian leader to a chess grandmaster and Trump to an occasional player of checkers.
How are Republicans still defending this guy? Seriously, how?