In May 2017, Trump attended his first joint meeting with leaders at NATO’s new headquarters in Brussels. He declined to reaffirm our country’s commitment to the collective defense of member nations under the NATO treaty’s Article 5 yet insisted on shaming our allies into paying more money. But the big visual that came out of that day was when Trump shoved Montenegro’s Prime Minister Dusto Markovic in an attempt to position himself at the front of fellow world leaders. Trump did not say “pardon me” nor did he make eye contact with Markovic as he pushed past him. Once Trump got to the front, he stood his ground and adjusted his jacket while striking a pose of contentment and superiority.
That brief episode epitomizes the “me first” philosophy that Trump has adhered to his entire life. When Trump decided to run for President, he simply added some letters around the first word so that Americans would think his “America First” campaign was actually about prioritizing their needs. “From this day forward, a new vision will govern… it’s going to be only America first, America first,” Donald Trump announced at his inauguration. But his presidency has proven to be nothing other than a pitiful display of self-interest, self-promotion, and self-preservation.
Trump was at it again on Thursday with his compulsive need to show fellow world leaders who’s boss. Several nations signed a D-Day Proclamation to commemorate the sacrifices of Allied troops in World War II and “affirm that it is our shared responsibility to assure that the unimaginable horror of these years is never repeated.” All leaders signed their name at the bottom except for Trump, who highlighted his signature at the very top of the document. Some people have tried to defend Trump by suggesting that he was the last to sign and there was no room at the bottom. But if you look at the document, you can see there is ample room, such as just above Emmanuel Macron’s signature.
This isn’t a sign-in board for a bar mitzvah or sweet sixteen. Having signed documents for decades in real estate deals and more recently as President, Trump knows very well that you don’t sign a document at the top of the page and that multiple signatures should appear together, especially when it is important to convey a strong message of unity. But as a devout practitioner of “me first,” Trump’s only care was to break from the pack and position himself alone at the top. He acted as if D-Day was shorthand for Donald’s Day.