Some pundits have reacted with concern, and others with glee, at the video that seems to show the leaders of France, the U.K. and Canada laughing at President Donald Trump at a meeting earlier this month.
In either case the consensus seems to be that Trump has singlehandedly diminished America’s standing in the world.
Setting aside for a moment whether this even matters to Americans — who are, after all, the people Trump is supposed to represent — a relevant question is whether some of those leaders ought to be paying more attention to their own countries than tittering about Trump.
French president Emmanual Macron apparently finds Trump amusing, but what does Macron think about his country’s 8.5% unemployment rate while America’s is 3.6%?
Is Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau’s mirth about Trump helping Trudeau’s constituents (5.9% jobless rate) find work?
And if Trudeau thinks Trump is so easy to dismiss, then why has his country negotiated a new trade deal with the U.S. that redounds to the latter country’s benefit?
British prime minister Boris Johnson can at least spar with Trump on economic grounds — the U.K.’s unemployment rate is 3.8% — but in some circles Johnson is nearly as maligned as Trump for his support of Brexit.
At least until he chuckles at Trump, apparently.
James Gibney, an editorial writer for Bloomberg Opinion, cited Pew Research Center surveys showing that the percentage of Canadians and Mexicans who see the U.S. as their top ally has declined during Trump’s tenure. Gibney suggests this might weaken America as it vies with China for “influence and power.”
But it’s quite another thing to imply that Trump — who certainly doesn’t help his own reputation with his frequently repugnant tweets and comments — has in any meaningful way reduced America’s position as a bastion of freedom and generosity.
Let’s say, to use Gibney’s examples, that either Mexico or Canada, or indeed any other country, suffers a natural disaster or other calamity beyond its capacity to deal with. Do you think the first phone calls goes to Beijing, or to Washington, D.C.?
— Jayson Jacoby, Baker City Herald editor