Oh, Gee!

The G-7 (or more accurately the G7 minus 1) took place in Biarritz, France this weekend extending into Monday where the international embarrassment known as Donald Trump predictably struck again, and again, and again. There is probably too much for a single article but let’s explore.

If you are busy I’ll sum up the meetings up in one paragraph. Trump lied about them, China and his wife among other things. Meanwhile the six other leading economic power democracies (Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom) attempted to make some progress on addressing the world’s most compelling problems. Trump lying to his wives is nothing new. He took that “art form” to a new level (perhaps depth is a better word) by lying about his current wife while she is in the room.

In an extremely rare move for such international conferences, no joint communique was issued at its conclusion. That is because Trump was throwing a monkey wrench into the proceedings even before they started. Trump insisted that the term climate change not be used. That is particularly interesting when climate change is arguably the most impactful crisis facing the planet today. In fact he not only declined to attend the session on climate change but lied about what he was doing during it. Trump claimed to have been meeting with Germany’s Angela Merkel and India’s Narenda Modi. Official photographs of the meeting showed Trump’s empty chair while Merkel and Modi were seated next to each other.

With a major threat of a global recession largely fueled by Trump’s erratic trade policies which include trade wars and threatened trade wars with most of the world’s leading economic powers – all without either a strategy or exit plan – Trump also refused to discuss global trade. To sum it up, under Trump if the uninhabitable planet doesn’t get you the poverty will. I guess you will have your choice of dying from the elements or starvation. Perhaps as Trump remakes the Republican Party (the only political party in the world that denies man’s role in climate change) he can change their symbol from an elephant to an ostrich with its head buried in the sand.

Trump did enter the meetings with two objectives and looking for an opportunity. He worked on his agenda and found a platform for his obsession. Even before the meetings started Trump voiced his opinion that the G7 should invite Russia back into the fold and become the G8 again. That went over like flatulence in church with the other six members. Despite being dead on arrival reportedly Trump continually raised the issue in the sessions he attended.

His sixty-eight minute press conference at the conclusion of the meetings was one for the history books. He got into another macho handshaking contest with host and French President Emmanuel Macron. Trump, who claims not to drink, looked like a drunken bully who has stayed at the bar way too long. He made his case for adding Vladimir Putin to the “club” despite being called out as a liar by the news media. For a little historical background, Russia was expelled from the then G8 over its invasion and annexation of Crimea. That was the unanimous decision of the remaining seven member nations. Trump blames it all on then American President Barack Obama who he says Putin outsmarted. Trump also falsely claimed that there is current support among the other six nations to readmit Russia. Even UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is not in favor of that. This is how far America’s international image has sunk; Boris Johnson looks saner and more reasonable than Trump does.

America will be the host country for the 2020 meeting of the G7. Trump sounded like a bad salesman when he sang the virtues of his Doral Golf Club as the venue. He also said he would invite Putin as a guest (although he denied saying that a few minutes later in response to another question). Where is the late Tim Russert when we need him to say play the tape?

Obama is no longer president and will never run for public office again. I realize that it is difficult to take over from a legend but I think it is high time that Trump look at the present and the future instead of obsessing over Obama and Hillary Clinton.

One of the few “achievements” of the conference was pledging $22 million to aid Brazil in fighting the forest fires in the Amazon. As of this writing it is questionable as to whether Brazil will accept the money but that is another story entirely. When dealing with a global problem $22 million struck me as a rather paltry sum. Being far from an expert on firefighting budgets I needed to put it somewhat in perspective. In Trump’s hometown of New York City the slightly reduced 2019 budget of the NYFD is $2 billion. New York City is a very large city so I decided to look at a more modestly populated city, Trump’s current home, Washington, D.C. The current budget for the DCFD is a bit more difficult to calculate but it is in the neighborhood of $250 million.

Oh, and by the way Mr. Trump Ireland is not part of the UK. After over two years of being the president and as a self-styled Brexit consultant I though you should know that; especially after all the deep intellectual conversations with Boris.

It is great to be proud of your country and a bit of nationalism is fine. Don’t mistake ignorant isolationism and misplaced arrogance for national security and/or prosperity. It’s too big for a bumper sticker but here is a suggestion for the 2020 Democratic nominee: Make America proud of its leadership again; vote against Trump and his enablers the world will be grateful.

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