Bob Franken


By Bob Franken


To paraphrase the country and western song, when it comes to outright scorn, the North Koreans were insulting before insulting was cool. And all those decades of practice mean they are still setting the standard. Who else would refer to the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as a “poisonous plant”? Yup, that’s what the nation’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho called Pompeo after his routine comments about continuing sanctions against that totalitarian government. Mike Pompeo is a “poisonous plant”. Admit it: that’s inventive invective, even better than anything from that “Little Shop of Horrors”, also known as the Trump administration.
However, in the quantity of verbal abuse, versus quality, President Donald Trump is unmatched. Every time he heads to a world leaders summit to do diplomacy, expect to cringe. He’s running out of allies to offend.
Other than the UK’s Boris Johnson, who has also parlayed meaningless promises into real power, the American president constantly trash talks those who head up democracies and are traditional allies of the United States. Instead, he has an obvious preference for autocrats , the more despotic the better. How else to explain North Korea’s tyrant Kim Jong Un, and Trump’s unabashed declaration that he and Kim “fell in love”? How else to describe his relationship with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, a nation that so offended the others, with his takeover of Crimea in 2014 that they tossed the country out of their economic group the G-8, making it the G-7. Now, although Crimea remains occupied, Trump has rattled the cages of the others leaders by suggesting that Russia should be allowed back. Like that old vegetable juice commercial, he’s exclaiming “Gee, we should be a G-8!”. The others aren’t swallowing it, but it’s one more prick in their sensitivities, from a man who they already consider a word we can’t use here.

Of course, you can cross the head-of-state line with insults From afar, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, who is another from the Donald Trump moldy mold, disparaged the wife of Emmanuel Macron, the French president. Macron took umbrage, as he should have. Even Trump hasn’t gone that far. Not recently anyway.
Although he did manage to antagonize the Danish Prime Minister, and then got back at her by canceling his scheduled trip to Copenhagen. All that over Greenland, in case you don’t keep up with all the Trumpster garbage.
Still, It’s good that he got away, because he’s running out of people to slam back home. Besides, he’s trying to wriggle out of blame for an economy that’s might be heading into the toilet, already fouled by his tariff war with China. He has serious indigestion but he’s trying to gaslight his way out of the mess in his usual way: by blaming others. It’s the media’s fault he says, for promoting a recession, it’s also China’s fault and President Xi Jin Ping’s too; but he’s also heaping blame on the chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell, who, by the way, he selected. “My only question is, who is our bigger enemy” he tweeted, “Jay Powel or Chairman Xi?,” Powell had made it clear in a speech that he would not reduce interest rates just because POTUS dictated it. That is why Trump went apoplectic. He has a tired habit of calling adversaries “”enemies”. Reporters and editors are “enemies of the people” So welcome to our club Chairman Powell.
And welcome home, Mr.President. Perhaps the biggest news you made abroad was your acknowledgement that you actually have “second thoughts” about most everything you say and do. Maybe that’s why you constantly reverse course, which is a polite way of saying your word cannot be trusted. Besides, the problem is less with your “second thoughts”, than your first ones, which assumes you even think before you blurt something out.
Is that an insult? As Sarah Palin would say “You betcha”. Admittedly it’s kind of a puny one. Certainly compared to Brazil’s Bolsonaro who made the North Korean foreign minister look subtle when he called Pompeo a “poisonous plant”. Perhaps it’s time to weed out all of these guys who substitute crass for class.

©Bob Franken
King Features, Inc.

Posted in Uncategorized

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap