A desperate White House clings to the faint hope that Donald Trump will somehow resurrect himself at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, that he will dazzle the world with his “legendary” deal-making prowess. What has them most worried, of course, is that Trump’s temper, never mellow at the best of times, will be tested to its obstreperous limit in the shadow of the latest revelations to come out of the Mueller investigation.
Now that Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, the collective breath of White House advisors and officials remains bated in anticipation of who is next. Donald Trump Jr., and several current or former top White House aides, have testified to Congress. Is Robert Mueller preparing handcuffs for them too?
Of course, Trump’s recent travel history has not gone well for him. His decision not to visit an American cemetery outside Paris earlier in November was a public relations disaster. Then there was the G7 summit in June where Trump departed early and backed out – via Twitter – of a joint statement that had already been negotiated by the participating countries. Trump loyalists hope that Trump will rehabilitate himself in Argentina. History has shown that hope to be foolhardy. The best they are likely to get is some even larger scandal that is self-created by Trump.
Trump’s handlers have somehow persuaded him to steer clear of his puppet master Vladimir Putin, on the pretext of Putin’s capture of Ukrainian ships off the Crimean Peninsula. The White House also structured Trump’s schedule to leave little room for a sit-down with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. These thin rationales for avoiding these two leaders, poorly planned and far from convincing, are becoming standard fare from a White House that clearly has cynical contempt for the intelligence of the American people.
The best the White House officials, advisors, hangers-on, and sycophants can aspire to is that Donald Trump won’t do something bone-headed while in Argentina. That’s a thin hope in the brutal light of Trump’s recent travel history. Meanwhile, what more does Robert Mueller have up his sleeve?
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.