TRUMP MAY HAVE SPARKED LAUGH­TER IN THE KREM­LIN

The Gulf Today - - FOCUS - BY MARTIN SCHRAM

It’s time to say a pos­i­tive word about a man who has been much­ma­ligned by my me­dia col­leagues. Yes, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

Me­dia fact-check­ers have splash­ing around in their re­ported news that Amer­ica’ s 45 th pres­i­dent has lied, dis­torted or made mis­lead­ing state­ments more than 5,000 times since his in­au­gu­ra­tion. But be­cause me­dia crit­ics love to lam­bast my col­leagues for fo­cus­ing only on the neg­a­tives, we want to be­gin by fo­cus­ing on an event where Trump proved he was demon­stra­bly ac­cu­rate in one of his ear­li­est and most-ridiculed as­ser­tions. It was back on Sept. 24, 2012, when Ci­ti­zen Trump, ex­plor­ing his far-fetched no­tion of some­day plung­ing into pres­i­den­tial pol­i­tics, tried out what be­came his most fa­mous road-tested fu­ture shtick be­fore an au­di­ence of 10,000 at the late Rev. Jerry Fal­well’s Lib­erty Univer­sity in Vir­ginia.

“The whole world is laugh­ing at us,” Trump said. “We just seem to have lost our edge.” That be­came his most re­li­able stump speech sta­ple ever since. It didn’t de­ter him when the late-night TV comics and my pun­dit col­leagues made Trump their go-to punch­line. When he wasn’t say­ing it, Trump was tweet­ing it, as in this Aug. 9, 2014 tweet from @re­al­don­aldtrump: “We need a Pres­i­dent who isn’t a laugh­ing stock to the en­tire World. We need a truly great leader, a ge­nius at strat­egy and win­ning. Re­spect!”

Now this: On Tues­day, Amer­ica’s 45th pres­i­dent proved to the world the va­lid­ity of that old­est Trump stump speech re­frain – that the world is laugh­ing at Amer­ica’s leader. Stand­ing in front of the United Na­tions Gen­eral As­sem­bly’s iconic green mar­bled ros­trum and walls, Trump was just one minute into what was sup­posed to be his most-se­ri­ous diplo­matic ad­dress, when he du­ti­fully read aloud a line that was re­port­edly writ­ten for him by his staff’s non-speech­writ­ing hard­line na­tion­al­ist Stephen Miller.

“In less than two years, my ad­min­is­tra­tion has ac­com­plished more than al­most any ad­min­is­tra­tion in the his­tory of our coun­try.” But af­ter read­ing that line in a sub­dued diplo­matic man­ner, Trump de­tected an undiplo­matic un­der­cur­rent of undis­guised laugh­ter rolling through the mas­sive UN hall. It built as the trans­la­tors in­ished their de­layed ren­di­tions. More and more del­e­gates – grasp­ing the ab­sur­dity of Trump’s cam­paig­nish claim – broke diplo­matic deco­rum in a way UN vet­er­ans never be­fore wit­nessed. Or as we are choos­ing to spin it pos­i­tively here, they were in­ally show­ing us what Ci­ti­zen Trump long ago warned about.

Con­tin­u­ing our most pos­i­tive spin on Trump’s UN mo­ment, it was an­other his­toric irst for Trump. Trump be­came the irst ever US pres­i­dent to get the whole world laugh­ing at an Amer­i­can pres­i­dent. But this week may have even given Trump an­other First: On Wed­nes­day, while pre­sid­ing over a UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil meet­ing, Trump said, with­out an elab­o­ra­tion (let alone ev­i­dence): “Re­gret­tably, we found that China has been at­tempt­ing to in­ter­fere in our up­com­ing 2018 elec­tion com­ing up in Novem­ber against my ad­min­is­tra­tion. They do not want me, or us, to win be­cause I am the irst Pres­i­dent ever to chal­lenge China on trade. And we are win­ning on trade. We are win­ning at every level.”

It was a most pointed ac­cu­sa­tion – es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing how re­luc­tant Trump has been dur­ing his two years as pres­i­dent to con­demn Rus­sia and Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin for their in­fa­mous 2016 ef­forts to help him win the pres­i­dency. Top US in­tel­li­gence ofi­cials have main­tained China’s 2018 in­ter­fer­ence is nowhere near as large as Rus­sia’s this year.

Per­haps Trump’s lat­est First is that he may have just sparked a new round of up­roar­i­ous in­ter­na­tional laugh­ter – in­side the Krem­lin.

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