You have to wonder at what point Republicans, who claimed repeatedly and without evidence that President Obama was embarrassing the United States, will recognize that Donald Trump’s Twitter obsession is doing just that.
Former Guantanamo chief prosecutor Col. Morris Davis draws attention to that fact, and to an image many of us here and abroad no doubt have, but wish we didn’t:
If these are not, in fact, “man on the can” musings, we have a right to wonder why, seated at his desk, Donald Trump is not directing his attention to more important work. Certainly, there is something he could be doing, like informing himself.
It was terribly awkward for all Americans to see China’s mature response to Trump’s childishness in employing Twitter diplomacy, and this is from China’s official news agency, Xinhua, in other words, state run media: “The obsession with ‘Twitter diplomacy’ is undesirable,” was China’s message.
“It is a commonly accepted that diplomacy is not a child’s game — and even less is it business dealing. As former United States Secretary of State [Madeleine] Albright said, Twitter should not be a tool for foreign policy.”
Yes, it is left to China to quote our sober-minded former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright back at us. Kellyanne Conway says we “have to get a hold of ourselves here” but the only person who seems to lack a firm grasp of things is Donald Trump and his coterie of inexperienced advisers.
Another Twitter diplomacy fiasco, and one much closer to home than the South China Sea was Trump’s revelation that taxpayers would indeed pay for the wall but that they “will be paid back by Mexico later!”
Usually, diplomats, and sometimes the leaders of the countries involved, get together and talk about important issues of concern to them both. Trump simply tweets his diktat and expects the world to abide.
This led Vicente Fox Quesada, Mexico’s president from 2000-2006 to tweet in response:
This will all become much more embarrassing once Trump is ensconced in the Oval Office (or White House bathroom), smartphone in hand, tweeting with wild abandon while the world laughs and mocks. The only country Trump might be right about is Russia, and that is simply because here Donald trump is doing what he is told, whether out of greed, indebtedness to Russian oligarchs, or Russian blackmail.
Not that this will help with other countries when they hear Putin’s words coming out of Trump’s mouth. That’s more than a little embarrassing for an American president, somehow losing the Cold War in a single tweet after we spent decades winning it.
National embarrassment is actually the least of our worries. As Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander told MSNBC’s Joy Reid, “PEOTUS’s tweets are now policies of the USA and that puts all of us in danger.”
If CNN’s Anderson Cooper was stunned by this weeks’ collection of Trump tweets, saying “He called himself a ‘ratings machine’ or something like that, in one of the tweets. I don’t think it matters, but it is a mirror to who this person is,” imagine how world leaders feel about being dictated to by a guy who is obsessed with the idea that he is a “ratings machine” and talks about himself in the third person.
Cooper called Trump “a raw nerve of emotion.” There is likely going to be a lot of that going around in foreign capitals after January 20. President Obama worked hard for years to restore America’s reputation around the world. Trump, if he hasn’t already, could destroy that in a single day’s “on the can” musings.