@gregolear / Twitter Strange things are afoot at the 1541940266.jpg...
@gregolear / Twitter

Donald Trump’s weekend in a Paris hotel, spent hunched over Twitter and recordings of his favorite Fox shows while the rest of the world tried to carry on the business of preserving civilization, was even worse than it seemed. Because Trump was even worse than he seemed. He did’t just skip out on ceremonies and make claims of voter fraud with no evidence, he was in a foul mood and he took it out on everyone—everyone except Vladmir Putin.

The Washington Post reports that even on the way to Paris, Trump had gone to Asscon level 2. When British Prime Minister Theresa May tried to call Trump to congratulate him on Republican Senate wins, Trump didn’t respond with a thanks. He immediately went on the attack.

Trump berated May for Britain not doing enough, in his assessment, to contain Iran. He questioned her over Brexit and complained about the trade deals he sees as unfair with European countries. May has endured Trump’s churlish temper before, but still her aides were shaken by his especially foul mood, according to U.S. and European officials briefed on the conversation.

Donald Trump sulked through his time in Europe. He blamed his failure to visit an American cemetery on the inability of his “Sea King” marine rescue helicopter to fly in damp conditions. He blamed the Secret Service for not letting him stroll a few blocks on the Champs-Élysées with other world leaders. He insisted that he braved “pouring rain” to speak at a memorial in Paris, even though he was the only one carrying an umbrella. And he sat through speeches where people attacked the infantile politics of nationalism—though it’s not clear he understood any of what was said until he came home so Fox could explain it to him.

But Trump’s weekend in Paris, spent cooped up in his hotel having overseas “executive time” with Twitter, was even worse than it seemed in public. Trump snarled at his staff. Lashed out at French President Macron. Snapped at other leaders. There was only one person in his days of fury who merited a smile.

And there was just one other leader who played hooky from his apparent leadership duties while visiting Paris.

Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin were the only world leaders to skip another commemoration, on Sunday, at the Arc de Triomphe, where about 80 heads of state walked in unison—under umbrellas in the pouring rain—down Paris’ grand Champs-Elysees boulevard. Trump arrived later by motorcade, a decision aides claimed was made for security reasons.

His first sight of Putin was the one thing that finally brought a smile to Trump’s face. Finally, in this sea of democratic leaders calling for openness, equality, and peace—the understanding countenance of a fellow autocratic nationalist gave him a moment of relief.

TOPSHOT - French President Emmanuel Macron (R) touches the knee of German Chancellor Angela Merkel (2nd R) as they sit next to US President Donald Trump (2nd L) and US First Lady Melania Trump (L) during a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on November 11, 2018 as part of commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the 11 November 1918 armistice, ending World War I. (Photo by Francois Mori / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS MORI/AFP/Getty Images)
Before
TOPSHOT - (From L) US First Lady Melania Trump, US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and French President's wife Brigitte Macron react as Russian President Vladimir Putin (front C) arrives to attend a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on November 11, 2018 as part of commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the 11 November 1918 armistice, ending World War I. (Photo by BENOIT TESSIER / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read BENOIT TESSIER/AFP/Getty Images)
After

Trump left Europe early, while ceremonies were still going on and before German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s speech. Once he was back in the U.S. where Fox News gasbag Steve Doocy could spoon-feed him the contents of Macron’s earlier talk, Trump unloaded on France and followed up with a massive whine in an attempt to justify shrugging off his responsibilities.

But, as the Los Angeles Times reports, all the whining in the world won’t excuse the fact that Trump had a singular, never-to-be-repeated opportunity to praise the American military, bond with America’s allies, and support the cause of peace. And he utterly, utterly blew it.

Nicholas Burns, the former U.S. ambassador to NATO under George W. Bush, said the moment, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of a war in which 120,000 Americans were killed, was ripe for soaring words, which Trump failed to provide.

Trump has confidence that everything he does will be forgotten. After all, as 5,000 New York Times articles have assured us and votes in the most rural, most white sections of America seemed to bear out, Trump supporters still support Trump. But Trump’s inability to survive a bit of drizzle to honor men who spent their last months mired in mud and blood is a potent image. It won’t be in the news every day, but it will be in campaign speeches in 2020.

Trump’s failures in Europe are about to be echoed in Asia, where VP Mike Pence is standing in for Trump in at annual summit of Asian leaders and paying a call on the Japanese president in Trump’s place. This is a meeting that American presidents have attended since they began—until now. And it’s a snub that is definitely getting noticed on the other side of the Pacific.

Trump found time for innumerable campaign rallies over the last few months, but he hasn’t found time to see the troops, or to attempt the Asia-Pacific Summit, or to see the King of Jordan, who came to Washington only to be pawned off on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Trump can’t even be bothered to leave the White House long enough to visit the troops he forced into a pointless deployment along the border. He’s leaving that to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Trump had reportedly considered making that trip himself, but has decided against it. Nor has he spoken of the caravan since the midterm elections, after making it a central issue in his last weeks of campaigning.

Because the caravan was never a real concern and Trump is too busy sulking and being angry to meet with anyone about anything.

The way that Trump is hiding in his chambers isn’t just frustrating to world leaders, it’s concerning. More than ever there are concerns that perhaps Trump can’t be allowed to talk to others… because he can’t carry on a coherent conversation.

Or maybe he’s just worried it might rain.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

2 COMMENTS

  1. He hasn’t done his duties from day one. All we have had is two years of him dodging the law. Enough is enough, throw the bum out.

  2. If there is anything consistent about tRump, it is the fact that he has steadfastly turned down every opportunity for greatness that comes his way. He not only turns them all down, he turns them all FACE DOWN!

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