Thursday, April 27, 2017

Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck

If you add together Trump learning about the history of Korea (wrongly) from the President of China Trump being schooled by Angela Merkel:

Angela Merkel was forced to explain the “fundamentals” of EU trade to Donald Trump 11 times after he repeatedly asked to do a deal directly with Germany, a senior German official has claimed.

The US President reportedly exposed "very basic misunderstandings" of how EU trade works during a meeting with the German chancellor last month.

“Ten times Trump asked [Ms Merkel] if he could negotiate a trade deal with Germany. Every time she replied, 'You can’t do a trade deal with Germany, only the EU,'" the official told The Times.

"On the eleventh refusal, Trump finally got the message, 'Oh, we’ll do a deal with Europe then.'"
And then toss in this news from the past 24 hours:

President Donald Trump’s top advisers are embroiled in a debate over how aggressively to proceed on reshaping U.S. participation in the North American Free Trade Agreement, with hard-liners favoring a threatened withdrawal as soon as this week and others advocating for a more measured approach to reopening negotiations with Canada and Mexico.

Some of Trump’s advisers want a dramatic move before Trump’s 100th day in office on Saturday to fulfill a key campaign promise, while others say he can let the milestone pass and revisit the issue later through more formal procedures, according to two White House officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Which had already shifted this morning to:

President Donald Trump won’t immediately terminate U.S. participation in the North American Free Trade Agreement, the White House said, after he spoke with the leaders of Mexico and Canada about ways to renegotiate the accord.

“Both conversations were pleasant and productive. President Trump agreed not to terminate Nafta at this time and the leaders agreed to proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures, to enable the renegotiation of the Nafta deal to the benefit of all three countries,” the White House said in a statement late Wednesday. Mexico’s peso and Canada’s dollar jumped after the White House’s announcement.
There really isn't any reason to worry that Trump will do anything rash or radical.  A)  He won't be personally renegotiating NAFTA; that's not what Presidents do, and even if Trump wants to, Trudeau and Pena Nieto won't personally sit down and negotiate with him.  B)  if Trump does get involved, he'll learn (eventually) why NAFTA is the way it is, and find out once again he doesn't have the whip hand in this situation (he never does, but always imagines he does).  C)  Trudeau and Piena Neto talked to Trump and showed him the error of his ways.  Seeing the pattern here yet?

As an example of how much power Trump doesn't have:

House Republicans on Wednesday night introduced a stopgap funding measure to keep the government open through May 5 while lawmakers work on a final agreement for legislation to fund the government through September.

The measure, introduced by House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), would keep the government open at current funding levels, according to a statement from Frelinghuysen’s office.

“This Continuing Resolution will continue to keep the government open and operating as normal for the next several days, in order to finalize legislation to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year,” Frelinghuysen said in the statement. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon. It is time that this essential work is completed so that critical programs and activities – including national defense –are properly and adequately funded for the year.”
Lamest lame duck to ever sit in the White House.


  1. I can only imagine what Merkel thought of that. Especially in the context of Barack Obama sandwiched between George W. Bush and Trump.

    It reminds me of a story someone told me from their beginning German class in college, taught by a German intellectual. One of the early classes they had a vocabulary test, she said they should write the word and give a definition of it. One of the students raised his hand and said, "I thought we just had to know how to spell them, not know what they mean." Reportedly she just shook her head and said, "I don't know how they let some of you into university."

  2. My college German professor loved to remind us that little children learned the language easily, so why not us?

    My other German professor, actually from Germany, took time to encourage us to read the literature of the Greeks and Romans, which he insisted filled only a small bookshelf (it does) but would improve our educations immeasurably.

    He was right, of course, but also taking a swipe at American education.