Michel Temer / Flickr chinese prime minister...
Michel Temer / Flickr

Donald Trump’s tweet on Monday morning brought an abrupt end to his nuanced, deep attempt to alter the United States’ relationship with China.

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This admission of failure had to sting. After all, Trump dragged Chinese President Xi Jinping down to Mar-a-lago, showed him the golf course, and attacked Syria while providing Xi with what has become the world’s most famous slice of cake.

TRUMP:  I was sitting at the table. We had finished dinner. We’re now having dessert. And we had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen and President Xi was enjoying it.

It was a display Trump has confidently predicted would alter the geopolitics of Korea. And yet, over the weekend North Korea test-fired their first ICBM while Kim Jong-un provided a special message.

After personally overseeing the launch of the Hwasong-14 missile, KCNA reported, “he said American bastards would be not very happy with this gift sent on the July 4 anniversary”. Breaking into peals of laughter, it said, he “added that we should send them gifts once in a while to help break their boredom”.

Over that beautiful cake, Trump threw 59 Tomahawk missiles into Syria. A decision that, three months later, has changed course of the war there not a single inch. While Trump was becoming president by blowing hell out of an airfield that was back in business in a matter of hours, President Xi responded by giving Trump a ten minute lecture on the history of the relationship between China and North Korea.

From that moment, Trump began to crow about the personal bond he had formed with Xi. The man had seen his golf course. He had eaten the cake. They were practically blood brothers. Trump backed off much of the hard line he’d adopted toward China during the campaign, ready to rely on his new best bud and their “warm” relationship.

Trump was so certain of his confection-fueled bromance with Xi that he’s bragged about it for months. 

‘The relationship developed by President Xi and myself I think is outstanding. We look forward to meeting together many times in the future,’ Trump said in front of the cameras on Friday morning,

That “outstanding relationship” has kept Trump talking about Xi every time Kim Jong Un ratcheted up tension on the Korean peninsula. Even over the last weekend, as North Korea announced they had test fired their first ICBM, Trump was still counting on Xi to do … something.

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