— Steve Bannon (@mudrat500) November 11, 2017
I'd kind of believe that Trump thinks he can be friends with the world's worst dictators, despots and strong men. He wants to be in that club.
— Schooley (@Rschooley) November 12, 2017
It’s hard to keep up with the nonstop tsunami of Trump-shit, but let’s not forget how the Repubs’ (and Putin’s) hand-picked Leader managed to further disgrace us all in front of the watching world. Mr. Pierce, at Esquire:
Well, the president* seems finally to have run out of goons and despots who will buy him with a parade and a silly shirt—American presidents used to command a higher price than those—and is returning to his own country, where 30 percent of the people are happy to see him again, or at least not prone to refuse delivery.
He reported to an anxious nation that he had a very nice time indeed…
Trump pleased with the opulent welcome treatment he's been given on this trip. "It was a red carpet like nobody, I think, has probably ever seen."
— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) November 13, 2017
Red carpet like nobody's ever seen before. pic.twitter.com/P8sbmmhbXQ
— Schooley (@Rschooley) November 13, 2017
“The Chinese delivered a masterful display of pure spectacle, ego flattery, and diplomatic theatre to one of the most conceited, self-obsessed people on the planet.” https://t.co/U9hfsYWWxV
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) November 12, 2017
Diplomats know well that no one can do the theatre of a grand visit quite like the Chinese. And for a president who has been accused of being all about spectacle over substance, this was the ultimate dream visit. Large parts of the city of over 10 million people remained closed down as he moved around it. Xi Jinping, ranked the most powerful man in the world by The Economist only last month, spent a whole day of precious time usually allotted to running a country of 1.4 billion people showing the visiting dignitary and his wife around the Forbidden Palace, watching a Beijing Opera with him, and observing Mr Trump’s granddaughter on an iPad singing a song in Chinese.
Spectacle and symbolism do matter in politics at this level. No one denies that. There is a good argument to say that, in fact, spectacle and symbolism are all that matter. So one immediate assessment of the whole visit was that if it did no major good, it certainly did no harm. And there were plenty who feared that such an insensitive, narcissistic figure as Trump, exposed to a culture with its own pride and sensitivities, had the capacity to cause real damage and give real offence.
In no small part due to the very accurate Chinese reading of the US President and his character, this didn’t happen. On the contrary, he looked most of the time overwhelmed by the spectacle laid out before him, and the heavy clues it gave him that he and the country he represents still matter. Trump repaid this by not once mentioning human rights, and largely emitting paeans of praise of this hosts. Remarkably, he even refrained from blaming China for one of his main criticisms when he was a presidential candidate, instead shifting the blame for bilateral trade imbalances onto his predecessors. No wonder Xi Jinping’s face was broad with smiles during the stay. Even on complex issues like North Korea, Trump was largely amenable…
China’s diplomats can sit back, well happy that, whatever it may mean for Making America Great Again, the November 2017 visit contributed handsomely to their priority: Making China even greater. Game, set and, quite possibly match, to Beijing.
Specifically, while we were all being rightfully aghast at Roy Moore, Trump’s Happy Fun Times in the Philippines may’ve slipped under the radar…
Trump and Duterte having a laugh about how journalists are *spies" "Hah, hah, hah" pic.twitter.com/6DjpIZznRc
— Gabriel Snyder (@gabrielsnyder) November 13, 2017
My dad was a journalist, not a spy, but after he was kidnapped, he was repeatedly tortured while his captors tried to get him to admit he was. Hilarious. https://t.co/CJ2H7qTC7j
— Sulome Anderson (@SulomeAnderson) November 13, 2017
177 journalists have been killed in the Philippines since 1986, making it among the deadliest countries to be a journalist.
Hah, hah, hah. https://t.co/nsBiwkRVxD
— Megha Rajagopalan (@meghara) November 13, 2017
Eugene Robinson, in the Washington Post, “What happens when you replace the president with a clown?”:
… There was a time when the world looked to the U.S. president to speak clearly in defense of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights. I refer to the entirety of modern U.S. history before January, when Trump assumed the high office he now dishonors.
His Asia tour has been at times a disaster, at times a farce. What was the most shameful moment? Perhaps when he announced that he has a “great relationship” with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has encouraged police and vigilantes to fight the trade in illegal drugs by assassinating suspected traffickers without the bother of arrests or trials. At least 7,000 and perhaps as many as 13,000 people have been slain…
Meanwhile, as Trump incomprehensibly pursues a policy of “America first” neo-isolationism — refusing even to adequately staff the U.S. diplomatic corps — China moves globally to fill the vacuum. Japan and South Korea wonder whether the U.S. nuclear umbrella still protects them. And the nations Trump abandoned when he nixed the Trans-Pacific Partnership have moved forward to form a trade pact of their own — without us.
This is what happens when a very big nation is led by a very small man.
Duterte is ordered to sing a love song to Trump: "You are the light in my world." pic.twitter.com/xtoxE4lITO
— Charles Johnson (@Green_Footballs) November 13, 2017
I can't even laugh at this. He's hamming it the fuck up with a mass murderer whom he admires specifically BECAUSE he's a mass murderer.
— Zeddy (@ZeddRebel) November 13, 2017
This was like a two-day story, but a leaked transcript showed Trump called up Duterte specifically to compliment his murderous extrajudicial war on drug dealers and users. https://t.co/qijPUI3Cp2 pic.twitter.com/EkYRU8n3rH
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) November 13, 2017