When President Trump made his first overseas trip in May, I wondered how he would top it. After all, he started in Saudi Arabia — home of Mecca — made the first direct flight ever from Riyadh to Israel, and then went to the Vatican, attended a NATO meeting, and finally finished with a G8 Summit.
He walked away with a commitment by NATO allies to spend more on their militaries — and the Saudis to give to a women’s fund $10 million, as well as work to defeat the Islamic State.
How do you top that?
Trump just did.
First, Kim Jong Un did not do squat. He cannot. His nuke program just collapsed — mysteriously — on October 10, likely killing all his scientists and technicians working on the project.
Second, Prime Minister Abe and the Trumps had a good old time. Played golf. Fed fish. Popped in on the emperor — unbowed. And oh, yeah, there was this:
Japan will impose additional sanctions on North Korea in response to the continuing threat posed by the reclusive nation’s missile and nuclear programmes, Japan’s top government spokesman said on Tuesday.
The sanctions, mentioned by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a joint news conference with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday, will freeze the assets of nine organizations and 26 individuals, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.
“The North Korean missile and nuclear issue is a pressing threat unseen before. Its provocative actions, in which it has ignored the severe warnings of international society, are totally unacceptable,” he said.
Then he went to Seoul to talk to the General Assembly:
President Trump told North Korea to “not underestimate us,” in a speech before the South Korea’s National Assembly Wednesday morning local time.
“Do not underestimate us. Do not try us. We will defend our common security, our shared prosperity, and our sacred liberty,” Mr. Trump said.
The president, who has softened his rhetoric on North Korea in recent days, urged other nations including Russia and China to sever economic ties with the rogue state. Mr. Trump, in the middle of his nearly two-week Asia trip, heads to Beijing next.
“The time for excuses is over,” Mr. Trump said. “Now is the time for strength.”
The president spent much of his speech contrasting the success of South Korea with its neighbor to the north, saying South Korea’s success threatens North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s “dark fantasy.” Mr. Trump said North Korea looks to cause trouble abroad to avoid the reality of failure at home.
Then he went to China.
Chairman Xi gave Trump the honor of being the first foreign dignitary to dine in the Forbidden City.
The Chinese then signed memorandums of understanding to invest $250 billion (a quarter trillion) in U.S. projects over the next two decades. That includes $83.7 billion in West Virginia.
Guys, West Virginia’s annual GDP is $74.9 billion.
After a week of delicate diplomacy in Asia, Trump went off script again https://t.co/FBVCrg1x4h pic.twitter.com/7jPuiDVNc9
— POLITICO (@politico) November 12, 2017
I’m officially bored by MSMsplainin @realDonaldTrump
Trump just got China to invest a quarter trillion dollars in USA industries@Politico couldn’t carry his putter https://t.co/uRN9TpMfLv
— Don Surber (@donsurber) November 12, 2017
Then Trump popped over to Danang for an APEC meeting. He and Putin talked about the Islamic State and reached an agreement.
Oh, and this is what Trump told the Asian leaders:
I recently had an excellent trip to China, where I spoke openly and directly with President Xi about China’s unfair trade practices and the enormous trade deficits they have produced with the United States. I expressed our strong desire to work with China to achieve a trading relationship that is conducted on a truly fair and equal basis.
The current trade imbalance is not acceptable. I do not blame China or any other country, of which there are many, for taking advantage of the United States on trade. If their representatives are able to get away with it, they are just doing their jobs. I wish previous administrations in my country saw what was happening and did something about it. They did not, but I will.
From this day forward, we will compete on a fair and equal basis. We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore. I am always going to put America first the same way that I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first.
They applauded because Trump treated them with respect, and he praised them for besting the Americans. Asians don’t often get that from Westerners. Certainly, it is a first for an American president.
You won that round, he told them. We’ll work harder on the next one.
My understanding is Asians want to save face. He gave them that. They can now lose the next round without humiliation because, hey, they won the first round. Fair and square. Without Russian meddling.
Today Trump is in the Philippines — which banned Obama last year.
CNN failed to catch any of this. The self-proclaimed leader in world news doesn’t know jack about anything outside Atlanta, New York, and Washington.
I went through the transcript of the reporters’ questions and Trump’s answers (a huge thanks to CNN’s Lauren Holt and Lauren Sennet for transcribing) and picked out the most newsworthy ones below. There are some real eyebrow raisers.
The quotes are listed in the order Trump said them.
1. “Prime Minister Abe came up to me just at the end and he said that since you left South Korea and Japan that those two countries are now getting along much much better.”
Trump spent two days in Japan and a day-and-a-half in South Korea. And yet, he somehow improved relations between the two countries in those 60 hours. So we’re off to a good start!
2. “There’s been a real bonding between South Korea and Japan.”
“Real bonding.” In two and a half days.
I want to say to the writer, dude, Koreans hate Japan over World War II. Abe has worked for over a decade on this. Trump helped facilitate this.
But CNN runs on Democratic Party Talking Points.
And that party is about as dead as North Korea’s nuke program.
Just like the Republicans.
Please enjoy my books on how the press bungled the 2016 election.