He got himself elected by going to endless halls filled with pissed-off people and telling them (inarticulately, sure) exactly what they wanted to hear, regardless of how it would play to the world at large.
It was a bold strategy, one that numberswise probably shouldn’t have worked, but somehow it paid off. It’s been less and less successful since he got elected and has an actual track record to play counter to his claims of greatness, but still, it got him in the White House.
He had one of his less-successful taking-in-a-room sessions this week, when he made the mistake of making bold pronouncements about his greatness to an audience of educated, politically aware diplomats.
He proclaimed, “In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country,” receiving the same response as if he’d walked out on stage and slipped on a banana peel.
Trump obviously denied that anyone was laughing at him, insisting that they were in fact laughing with him, due to having such a flippin’ bloody great bloody time.
“They weren’t laughing at me, they were laughing with me,” he said. “We had fun. That was not laughing at me. So the fake news said ‘people laughed at President Trump.’ They didn’t laugh at me, people had a good time with me. We were doing it together, we had a good time.”
Unfortunately for President Trump, it’s now been definitively confirmed that nobody was laughing with him, and everybody was in fact laughing at him.
An unnamed Latin American diplomat told Buzzfeed News: “Sometimes, when we see a behavior or listen to arguments or notions that seem so far-fetched, unreasonable, or insane, there is almost natural reaction of laughing. It is not laughing at a good joke, but a nervous laugh, or a bad joke turned laughable precisely because the guy who tells the joke doesn’t realize how bad it is.”
A European diplomat, deciding similarly to remain anonymous, wrote: “His words in the opening part of the speech were clearly addressed to a domestic audience. But as he did it in the Trumpian way (bragging ridiculously about being one of the best administrations in history) people in the audience reacted how they reacted. What would resonate well at a political rally in America sounded a little awkward at the UN General Assembly.”
An Asian diplomat cut to the chase with, “He doesn’t have any concept of diplomacy.”
Trump’s speech was meant to be about nuclear proliferation, Iran and North Korea, but he spent large swathes of it talking about China (to shrugs from an entirely nonplussed Chinese delegation) and Germany (to smirks and laughter from the Germans).
It’s baffling, and exhausting, in the way that every day under his administration has been baffling and exhausting. How can a man be so blindingly arrogant while doing such an abysmal job? How can the most famous man on Earth be so self-unaware? How do his supporters not see things like this and go, “Hang on! He’s useless and awful!”?
The world is a mysterious place.