We’ve seen U.S. Presidents try to influence the rest of the world via diplomacy, and we’ve seen U.S. Presidents try to influence the rest of the world via intimidation. We’ve seen them act in good and bad faith. We’ve seen them succeed and fail. But we’ve never seen a U.S. President try to influence the world via pointlessly psychotic narcissism – until now. Nor have we ever seen a U.S. President fail on the world stage so blatantly and humiliatingly.
It’s one thing for Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron to openly mock Donald Trump while standing in an open room, knowing full well that someone was going to overhear them. Yes, they’re leaders of U.S. allies. But they’re liberals, so they merely need to keep the liberals and moderates in their own countries happy, and they gain points with those demographics when they distance themselves from Trump. But they weren’t the only ones in this conversation.
Boris Johnson is the UK version of Donald Trump. He’s an unpopular far-right racist oaf, and no one is quite sure how he ended up in charge of his country. Johnson is facing an election next week. In theory, his base in the UK is the same demographic as Trump’s base in the United States. Yet even Johnson clearly wanted in on the joke when Trudeau began mocking Trump. Johnson is more politically savvy than he pretends. He made the calculation that he could gain points with UK voters – even though he’s a far-right conservative himself – by being seen dissing Trump.
Donald Trump is the laughing stock of the world. He’s turned the United States into the laughing stock of the world. Trudeau and Macron know it. Trump’s own would-be ally Boris Johnson knows it. America’s allies run away from Trump. America’s adversaries exploit Trump. The guy is a complete joke – and everyone knows it but him. Donald Trump is far too mentally compromised to realize that he’s the biggest punchline in American history, even as he watches world leaders stand around and laugh at him.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report