You Know How Trump Keeps Saying The World Was Laughing At The U.S. Until He Became President?
And not just a titter, a full throated classic sitcom style guffaw. It happened during a speech the President was giving at the United Nations General Assembly. And it came at a point in the speech when Trump said “my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country”. (Which is actually a more humble version of what he usually says because at rallies, where he sometimes leaves out the qualifier “almost.”)
We travel all over the world all the time and we keep telling the President that he’s got it backwards: nobody was “laughing at us” until he became President. Of course the President will likely take this display of derision as discontent at his effectiveness at shaking up the world order, and that the conspiracy to take him down is so far-flung it extends beyond borders.
At the same time, we are not taking this lightly. There doesn’t seem to be anything Trump hates more than being laughed at. So there could be hell to pay, especially with a President who relishes in meting out punishment against transgressors for all kinds of real and perceived slights.
In some ways, we almost feel sorry for Trump. Although he often criticizes the United Nations, he’s seemed to really enjoy hanging out at the General Assembly, where he can hobnob with the world’s leaders, most of whom are eager to pay their respects to the Don (literally) because what the hell have they got to lose? Remember last year when he retweeted data showing he “won” the General Assembly because he was the “Most Tweeted About World Leader” there? So unlike most U.S. Presidents who show up at the annual gathering, lay down some words and hightail it out of there, Trump tends to stick around for the duration. Just look at him in headier times, savoring a moment with U.N. Ambassador Nicki Haley. Then compare it to his expression in the photo above.
And when Trump speaks on the world stage about the world “laughing at us”, he’s mostly referring to America’s previously staunch defense of free trade, which he feels has led to other countries taking advantage of America’s largesse as they protect their own markets. But if the world is really robbing the U.S. blind as he says, why is it that America has by far the biggest economy (70% larger than #2 China according to the IMF), and half of the biggest and most profitable companies in the world, a number that should become even bigger now that Trump’s slashed corporate taxes? Shouldn’t it be exactly the opposite?
Trump does have something of a point when it comes to China, where many of its corporations have aggressively become some of the world’s top moneymakers with the benefit of government protection. And one of the stories that’s been almost totally ignored this week because there’s so much else going on is that Trump’s new huge round of tariffs on goods from China have quietly kicked in. And the Chinese government cancelled a visit to the U.S. by its top trade negotiator for a round of talks. Trump in the same U.N. speech yesterday accused China of “victimizing” U.S. workers and “plundering” U.S. wealth.
But most of Trump’s speech was focused on slamming Iran. Later in the day, Iran’s President lashed back, accusing Trump of suffering from a “weakness of intellect”. Trump had this to say:
And Trump today will chair a meeting of the U.N. Security Council focused on Iran.
Laughter continued to be on the President’s mind when he got around to the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. In a Tweet — in which he also seems to pander to evangelicals — the President implying Democrats are sitting around in a back room somewhere having a high time as a noble champion — and his family — suffers: