He can’t go 10 minutes without saying something – let’s be diplomatic here and call it … provocative.
He, of course, is President Trump, who has said some – more diplomacy – interesting things of late.
First, there’s Mr. Trump’s understanding of American history. He said he believes that President Andrew Jackson saw the Civil War coming and was angry about it.
Could be, but Andrew Jackson died 16 years before the war started.
Mr. Trump also said that Jackson “Would never have let it happen.”
Could be, again, but Andrew Jackson owned slaves in his native Tennessee and might very well have let it happen. And many historians believe the war was inevitable, given how long bad blood between the North and South had been simmering.
Then there’s North Korea.
President Trump said he would be willing to meet with Kim Jong Un “under the right circumstances” to defuse tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program. “If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it,” Mr. Trump said.
A meeting is one thing — diplomacy is always a good place to start. But honored to do it?
Honored … to meet with a despot who threatens the United States every chance he gets? Honored … to meet with a tyrant who doesn’t tolerate anything resembling dissent and isn’t averse to murdering his opponents?
Maybe the president was just being polite. Or maybe he was just shooting from the lip, improvising foreign policy on the fly. Who knows?
So let’s leave North Korea and go to the Philippines – and another authoritarian leader our president would like to sit down with (at the White House).
Maybe President Trump isn’t aware that since Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte took office nearly a year ago, he has overseen a campaign of extrajudicial executions of suspected drug addicts and drug dealers that has claimed more than 7,000 lives.
So, is a sit-down with a despot like Duterte — at the White House no less — a meeting that would give him a patina of legitimacy, good policy? Off the top of my head, I’d say no.
Despite all the needless turmoil he stirs up, President Trump has a secret weapon, unintended allies in unexpected places. They’re the Trump-hating progressives on the loony left who are doing their best to make him look good.
If it isn’t Stephen Colbert’s vulgar rant on national television aimed at the president, or left-wing masked anarchists violently disrupting May Day rallies, or liberal thugs on college campuses shutting down conservative speakers they don’t like — when they’re not yelling about “inappropriate” Halloween costumes, then it’s really important stuff – like accusing the president of bigotry because he calls their progressive heroine Senator Elizabeth Warren … Pocahontas.
Note to the crazy left: As a general rule, unhinged doesn’t play well among moderates who live between the coasts.
But now progressives have taken their anger to a whole new level: Some have actually cancelled their subscriptions to the newspaper they have long accepted as their progressive bible – the New York Times.
What ghastly sin did the Times commit? They hired former Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens, a Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative and a member of the never-Trump club.
If only, in his first column for the Times, Stephens had stuck it to the despised Mr. Trump. But he didn’t.
Instead, he had the gall to challenge the liberal party line on one of the left’s holiest of sacred cows – global warming.
“While the modest (0.85 degrees Celsius, or about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit) warming of the Northern Hemisphere since 1880 is indisputable,” Stephens wrote, “as is the human influence on that warming, much else that passes as accepted fact is really a matter of probabilities. That’s especially true of the sophisticated but fallible models and simulations by which scientists attempt to peer into the climate future.”
In other words, we can be sure of what’s happening now and what’s already happened but we can’t be certain of what’s going to happen years and years into the future.
Because of his blasphemy many Times readers had a meltdown of nuclear proportions. Taking to Twitter they said:
“Bret Stephens first op-ed for the NYT is an abomination”
“It’s really a shame what has happened to this once-great newspaper”
“Democracy dies in the darkness. So, too, the climate. Thanks, Times, for spreading fake opinion”
David French put it elegantly in National Review Online: “The only people who can’t recognize that our nation has a ‘smug liberal’ problem are smug liberals.”
But these smug liberals may wind up being Donald Trump’s ace in the hole, because a lot of Americans – whether they like Donald Trump or not — find left wing smugness far more annoying than the president.
Crazy as it sounds, they may turn out to be Donald Trump’s most potent political allies, as we get closer to 2018.