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May 29, 2017

Love to Damocles: Our Trump First Foreign Trip Grand Tour

Photo: Evan Vucci via Instagram Caption: President Donald Trump poses for photos with Gulf country leaders in Riyadh.

We aren’t sure how Trump earned such high marks for his first foreign trip, especially the early part. Chalk it up to that familiar low bar?

Trump was over buttered by the Saudis who indulged Trump’s vanity and all that glittered while scoring an arms deal of unprecedented size. For a political instant, the kingly spectacle provided cover from the scandals hanging over Trump’s head like the sword of Damocles.

The Israel/West Bank leg was filled with perfunctory symbolism, the Palestinians squeezed in. That’s not to mention Trump revealing Israel as the source of his recent leak to the Russians and the rushed visit to Yad Vashem, the Israeli museum and memorial to the Holocaust, and his Disney-like note in the famed visitor log.

There were at least two tarmac incidents in which Melania brushed off the president, emphasizing that the couple’s public face was just that. There was also example after example punctuating the fact that the Trump’s lack the communications people or the visual common sense to advantageously manage a photo-op or to make effective use of the White House photographer.

The Pope played Trump brilliantly, looking incredibly stern over the Donald’s primitive climate change and immigration policies one minute, while disarming him the next (and charming Melania in a classy way that clearly went over Trump’s head).

Finally, the NATO Summit and the G-7 (or G-6 + Donald) were an embarrassing display of belligerence and detachment. If Trump’s first foreign trip was successful in any way, it was only in its Groucho notes and the respite from the Russian tornado back home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Evan Vucci via Instagram Caption: President Donald Trump poses for photos with Gulf country leaders in Riyadh. 

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