Trump-a-day

President Trump on Friday touted himself as the “most tweeted about” world leader at the United Nations General Assembly, retweeting a graphic that put him at the top of the list, although not because he said anything clever.

The Trump Speech at the U.N.: bombastic noise that drowned the frail signals of common sense.


While North Korea’s nuclear program is at the forefront of concern all around the world, the US President could have made his point about Kim Jong Un’s regime in a measured way to prevent escalating tensions and misinterpretation by North Korea (which is exactly what happened). Instead, Trump went with words as “rocket man” to satisfy his base, which feeds on his tweets and slogans. As Jane Harman of the Wilson Center put it “Tuesday was a missed opportunity. Trump may have won the street, but he lost the hall.”


In his speech to the U.N. in San Francisco in 1948, Harry Truman warned the founders that “we must deny ourselves the license to do always as we please.” This is something Trump will never learn.

When you peel away the inflammatory language of the General Assembly speech, here’s what the president really said: 

– The world should reject threats to sovereignty (think: Ukraine); 

– condemn and counter humanitarian abuses by North Korea in addition to its nuclear program; 

– Iran should cease its bad behaviour across the Middle East (even US Congress has gone on record to address this);

– a political solution is needed to end the crisis in Syria. 

Most would consider these positions fairly mainstream. But then Trump spiced things up with “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”

Kim responded to Trump’s comments in a statement on Thursday, calling the U.S. president “mentally deranged” and warning that he would “pay dearly” for his threats against Pyongyang. Kim referred to Trump as a “gangster fond of playing with fire, rather than a politician” in the statement filled with colourful insults, which was reported by North Korea’s state news agency KCNA.

“The mentally deranged behaviour of the U.S. president openly expressing on the U.N. arena the unethical will to ‘totally destroy’ a sovereign state, beyond the boundary of threats of regime change or overturn of social system, makes even those with normal thinking think about discretion and composure,” Kim said. “A frightened dog barks louder. I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire,” he said.

Pyongyang’s provocation came the same day that Trump announced new sanctions on the isolated country.

Despite crushing sanctions, Pyongyang has continued its weapons testing, launching ballistic missiles over Japan and, earlier this month, detonating what North Korean officials claim was a hydrogen bomb.

President Trump fired back at North Korean leader on Friday.


Also today, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that North Korean leader will be “tested” by the new sanctions. “Our diplomatic efforts continue unabated. We have put in place the strongest economic sanctions ever to have been assembled against Kim Jong Un, so he is being tested with these sanctions,” Tillerson said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “Voices from every corner of the world are calling on him to cease his program, come to the table and let’s talk about the future of North Korea and the North Korean people,” he added.

As if the name calling football was not enough, a former foreign policy adviser to President Obama is warning there could be trouble if Kim chides President Trump over the fact that he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

God save us if Kim Jong Un makes a comment about Hillary’s popular vote victory https://t.co/mW2SJtmIrF

— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) September 22, 2017

Trump and Kim have been locked for months in a war of words and threats that has prompted concerns among foreign leaders who fear Washington and Pyongyang may be hurtling toward a confrontation. Donald Trump’s proximity to the USA’s arsenal of some 6,800 nuclear warheads could hardly comfort anyone at the best of times.

In the meantime, Google suggested that I might be interested in the following:

  

No, you can’t survive a nuclear attack by sitting in a fridge. Do not believe everything Hollywood shows you. 

Trump-a-day

Autumn is a beautiful time of the year: as the nature changes its colours and makeup, the most interesting books are published and films are screened. As we are sipping pumpkin spice latte, the social, political and awards seasons are getting in full swing. September is also the month when the United Nations (U.N.) has its General Assembly, the most high profile event in the diplomatic calendar.

President Trump today kicked off his maiden appearance at the U.N. with a call to overhaul the international organisation. 


“In recent years, the United Nations has not reached its full potential because of bureaucracy and mismanagement,” Trump said at an event dedicated to U.N. reform. Trump’s comments come as he prepares to deliver his first remarks before the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York on Tuesday. 

The president has been deeply critical of the 72-year-old organisation and dozens of world leaders at the summit are anxious to hear how he plans to address those concerns, as well as hotspots like North Korea. The White House believes the U.S. pays too much for what it gets in return and that peacekeeping missions should be examined for excessive spending. Administration officials have described the U.N. as a bloated bureaucracy and have expressed anger by what they view as insufficient support for key allies, like Israel.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that she is happy with the direction the U.N. has taken in recent weeks, noting that “Israel bashing” has declined and that the U.N. has passed new sanctions on North Korea. “We said we needed to get value for our dollar, and what we’re finding is that the international community is right there with us in support of reform,” she added. Well, bearing in mind North Korea’s recent ballistic performances, the international community is all about basic survival. Ask anyone from Japan or South Korea. 

The U.N. recently passed two rounds of sanctions against North Korea, and the Trump administration will be seeking to galvanise the isolated country’s regional neighbours, including Russia and China, against it.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that despite Trump’s “fire and fury” rhetoric, the U.S. is committed to a diplomatic solution. “I’m waiting for the regime of North Korea to give us some indication that they’re prepared to have constructive, productive talks,” Tillerson said Sunday.

Haley, however, has spoken more boldly about the potential for U.S. military action. “We wanted to be responsible and go through all diplomatic means to get their attention first,” she said Sunday on “State of the Union.” “If that doesn’t work, [Defense Secretary James] Mattis will take care of it.” Oh dear!


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Politics took the spotlight during Sunday night’s telecast of the Emmy Awards, the first since President Trump was elected. The former television star and current US President was a huge part of the show, from host Stephen Colbert’s opening monologue to the end, when “The Handmaid’s Tale,” about a dystopian future in which a tyrannical government has taken over the United States, was awarded best drama. 

The night featured actor Alec Baldwin winning an Emmy Award for his portrayal of the president on Saturday Night Live. 

“At long last Mr. President, here is your Emmy,” Baldwin said after winning the award. 

Baldwin’s comments were a reference to Trump’s desire for an Emmy. “The Apprentice,” his long-running show on NBC, was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program twice, but lost both times. Colbert jokingly blamed the academy for Trump’s election, suggesting that if the future president had won an award he might never have left television. “Why didn’t you give him an Emmy? If he had won an Emmy, I bet he wouldn’t have run for president. In a way, this is all your fault,” he said.

Trump has in the past tweeted about the Emmys, calling them “horrendous” and saying they have “no credibility.” Obviously, he’d say that. 

The decades-old “SNL” had a big year by ripping Trump week after week. In addition to Baldwin, Kate McKinnon won an Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy, in part for her “SNL” portrayals of Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, while Melissa McCarthy won last week for her guest performance as Sean Spicer. Former White House press secretary also made an appearance, just to mock himself for his comments in January declaring President Trump’s inauguration was the most watched in history. 


“This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period, both in-person and around the world,” a smiling Spicer said. Quite a few people criticised Spicer’s appearance on the grounds that he should not be turning into a celebrity. In a separate interview last week, Spicer said that he had no plans to write memoirs and that he did regret (quite rightly so) some of the suits he had worn during press briefings. Celebrity or not, not working in the White House looks good on Spicer. 

Trump-a-day

President Donald Trump has sent more than two dozen tweets about Hurricane Harvey before flying to Texas to view the damage himself. Up to 30,000 people lost their homes in Houston alone. Altogether 450,000 people are victims of the tropical storm turned hurricane. 


For the first time in their lives the president and the First Lady have travelled to a natural disaster zone, and their briefing did not cover dresscode. Or did it?

For those who care, Melania had a change of shoes on Air Force One. By the time they landed in Corpus Christi, where Harvey made landfall, she’d changed into white sneakers. She has also succumbed to the branded hat. For the first time. Although, unlike her shoes, that did not break Twitter.


Republicans are cognisant of President George W. Bush’s widely criticised handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and some have urged Trump to take a more proactive approach. Trump promised swift emergency funding to help Texas recover from the hurricane, though Republican congressional leaders haven’t yet sent clear signals on how they will proceed. The full scope of damage isn’t yet known with rain expected to last several more days. 

My thoughts are going to all the people who lost everything and are full of uncertainty about their future. Is Trump capable of achieving more than sending tweets? 

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As the internet has pointed out several times throughout President Trump’s first months in office: there is always a tweet for that. 

As Trump heads to Texas to survey the flooding and damage brought by Hurricane Harvey, a number of Twitter users have pointed out that the president is about to do exactly what he criticised former President Barack Obama for doing when Superstorm Sandy hit the east coast in 2012.


The irony of Trump doing exactly what he criticised Obama for doing was not lost on people. In fact, there is an entire Reddit community dedicated to finding old tweets of Trump’s that criticise things he’s doing as president. 


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Americans do not hold President Trump in high regard, with most suggesting he is dishonest, unstable, prejudiced and selfish, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center. The criticisms of the country’s 45th president do not end there, with a strong majority (58%) of Americans similarly indicating that they largely disagree with both Trump’s policies and his conduct since entering the White House. While 25% of respondents have mixed feelings, only 16% said they liked how the president conducted himself.

Split that up by political affiliation, and the results show that Democrats and those who lean Democratic are much more likely to disapprove of Trump’s conduct (89%), while Republicans and people who lean Republican are more likely to have mixed feelings about it (46%).

The poll surveyed 1,893 Americans from Aug. 15 to Aug. 21.

Trump, however, sees things differently.

ISIS? What Bills? Who’s ‘fake news’ now?

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The holiday season is over and now is the time for highly anticipated political reads, hot off the press. Last week, we talked about the upcoming release of Hillary Clinton’s memoir with an existential title What Happened.

Another soon to be released must read comes from Alec Baldwin: 

In this parody, Baldwin brings his famously satirical Saturday Night Live impersonation of the commander in chief to book form. Published by Penguin Press, the book is on sale in the US on 7 November. 

This year, I have lost quite a few friends to parenthood, so the next choice is very reflective of that.


The book contains “helpful tips like what to do if you met Trump in the woods – never acknowledge his bragging, never respond to his taunts. Most importantly, without an audience a Trump shrivels into an orange pile of nothing…” (quote from a person who made me aware of this book).

Trump also shared his book recommendation a few days ago.

That’s it for today. If North Korea and Trump do not blow up the world overnight, please check for new posts tomorrow.