President Trump’s first visit to a foreign country as POTUS has shown us that he is a complex phenomenon with many facets to what he does. Well, not really. It just shows that he says things based on where he is and to whom he is speaking. So we present the new episode of As The Donald Turns, “Here and There.”
• Donald started the trip in Saudi Arabia and his speech went….well, it went. “Here,” Donald has spoken out against Islam; not just radical Islam, but there is an interview where he says all of Islam hates the US. He has railed against the Saudis for their role in the 9/11 attacks. But “there” he and Melania got an amazing reception. The Saudis did not like President Obama, so someone from “As The Donald Turns” could have gone and we would have been warmly received. As Donald and his staff were given such a genial welcome, he saw fit to ease up on some of the talk of religious extremism. This has angered some on his far right who felt he abdicated the US role as a world leader in morals and convictions. The biggest takeaway was that Donald stuck to the teleprompter, thus lessening the likelihood of slip-ups. He did confuse the words Islamist and Islamic, but hey, who among us does not do that on a daily basis.
• Once the speech was done “there,” it was time for “other” business. Donald signed a new deal that sells the Saudis $110 billion of US weapons. Ivanka convinced the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates to commit $100 million to a women’s entrepreneur foundation that she is heading with the World Bank. The Clinton Foundation, which actually does charity work, was blasted for taking money from the Saudis. But that was “here.” Things are different when the Trump Cartel is “there.” They had a lavish party Saturday night where there was the frightening site of three old white men, Donald, Wilbur Ross, and Rex Tillerson, trying to keep rhythm in a traditional Arabic sabre dance. There was a Toby Keith concert. Yes, Keith was performing Red Solo Cup in front of a bunch of Islamic men, as women are not allowed at concerts.
• Donald did not go to the concert and cut his activities short prior to leaving for Israel. The travlling White House staff said he was “exhausted.” I get that…wait…what??? Exhausted?? He flew to the Middle East on the equivalent of a luxury hotel , stayed at a Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh with a list of pre-determined needs, (apparently he prefers the sheets ironed daily), and he was on day three of a nine day trip and he was exhausted? We have a gym membership that we can sign over to you Donald…help get you in presidential shape.
• You know what did not happen in Saudi Arabia? Anti-Donald protests. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was amazed and what he saw “there,” or actually did not see. Ross told CNBC, “The other thing that was fascinating to me, there was not a single hint of a protester anywhere there during the whole time we were there. Not one guy with a bad placard.” Uh…Wilbur….Mr. Ross. Civil and political protests in Saudi Arabia are illegal and political dissidents get executed. Did you not see that in the “Best Places to Visit in Riyadh” Magazine in your hotel room?
• Donald went from Saudi Arabia to Israel. Talk about being welcomed. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama could not stand each other. Netanyahu was virtually giddy to see Donald. When Donald was “here,” he said Middle East peace may not be as hard as people think. Of course Donald says that about everything, (taxes, health care, world peace), and then when he is in the moment, he finds out how absurd his assumption is and just never admits he may have been wrong. Today, being “there,” Donald admitted it is complex. And then he made the “big admission.” While he and Netanyahu were leaving a press photo op, Donald stopped and said, “Just so you understand, I never mentioned the word or the name ‘Israel’. Never mentioned it during that conversation. They were all saying I did. So you had another story wrong. Never mentioned the word ‘Israel’.” That’s a good answer to a question, but no one asked the question. Not once did any of the reporters ask him if he told the Russians he got the leaked Intel from Israel. It was like a child denying they did something even though the parents never asked. The Washington Post had kept it out of their stories, for the sake of those operatives still on the ground, that the intel came from Israel. It came up in notes leaked from the meeting, but no one asked him. Now that he has denied it, we can assume the story is true.
• Speaking of media not asking questions, it is worth pointing out that during the entirety of the nine day trip, (The Vatican and the G7 meeting in Europe still to come), there are no scheduled press conferences for Donald. They have learned it is better to keep him on script and on message and on teleprompter so as to avoid an international incident. Even in the 10 seconds he free-styled it today, he re-opened an angle of the Russia story that is detrimental to him. Also of note, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had a press conference in Saudi Arabia, and did not tell the US press he was doing it. That means the only press “there” was the highly censored, highly edited, government friendly Saudi press corps. It’s just as well since on this trip, he referred to Tel Aviv as the birthplace of Judaism. World history is apparently not a strong suit for the head of our world affairs.
• More on the media “here.” Newt Gingrich is doing his best to defend Donald. Of course Donald is reportedly considering Newt’s wife to be ambassador to the Vatican. Since Calista and Newt were having an illicit affair while Newt was married to his second wife, we can only assume Calista is the only Catholic Donald personally knows. Anyway, Newt is doing his best to help his old buddy Donald out. Monday in an interview on Fox, he called the media, “The reporters are pygmies, they’re little midgets. They are voyeurs who spent their lifetime watching other people do real things and writing about it.” I can’t address the pygmies or midgets issue. I don’t personally know any reporters who fit those two descriptions. But he is upset because people watch others do stuff and then report on it. That is an interesting profession. I wonder if there is a word for it. I wonder if they have colleges that teach how to do this “reporting” thing.
• We leave Monday with one more bit of media news. The Washington Post reports, (like pygmies or midgets I guess), that Donald reached out to Admiral Mike Rogers and Dan Coats to refute the FBI stories about the Russia investigation. This is no small thing. Rogers is Director of the National Security Agency. Coats is the Director of National Intelligence. Asking them to intervene on his behalf is kind of an issue regardless of whether it is “here” or “there.”
Notice we have no tweets from Donald? Someone has taken his phone, we suspect. On this trip, he has only tweeted official platitudes and thanks to his hosts for the trip. He likes being “there.”