Yet again, the US President does not disappoint in creating controversy during his latest press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel using his ever popular “Improvised Explosive Device”. This time though it has far reaching impact this being a very important international news conference. It must be clear to the blind how the U.S reputation is being dismantled from its core by the temperament of a leader who seems utterly unable to adapt to his new role; a topic written /talked about by many so will pass it here. The important thing is to focus on key takeaway points from the press conference which in my view are the following;
- Trade Inequality: The perception of the United States being taken for a ride on past trade deals is a trademark talking point for Donald Trump and one that has been used effectively during his campaign. Unfortunately he still seems to use campaign rhetoric when negotiating with U.S allies and it was glaringly obvious that Chancellor Merkel was not about to give him a free pass when he makes such accusations, and that’s exactly what she did by the end of the news conference in rebutting that claim; you could feel the tensity reach the climax at that stage but luckily the press conference was at its end.
- Press Freedom: It seems quite extraordinary that questions about press freedoms and wiretapping claims came from the German reporters not US press corps; something you may well witness in dictatorships where press conferences are well choreographed and the national press questioning controlled in a way to avoid questioning leaders on issues of controversy. Watching this scenario play out in the White House is truly shocking, and even more shocking was the differences of opinion demonstrated during the conference between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Trump when it comes to press freedoms; with Chancellor Merkel defending press freedoms and Trump continuing to blame the media and labelling major US news outlets as Fake news.
- Doubling Down on Wiretapping Claims: In terms of the actual response to the Obama wiretapping allegation he again seems to “Double Down” (though this terms is becoming a bit boring now and we are desperate for exciting ourselves with a new one) on claims that President Obama was indeed involved in such action, this despite Senate intelligence chiefs of both parties as well as US Intelligence community rejecting such claims. More importantly with regards to British Intelligence being involved in the wiretapping, and despite the fact the White House issued an apology earlier today to the British government about allegations made by Press Secretary Sean Spicer during a press briefing, here comes Donald Trump NOT taking responsibility for such claims but rather pointing to the source of the allegations (Fox News) and passing the buck about these allegations which in effect cancels out the earlier apology issued to the British government. Just the concept of referring to such reports as proof by the President of the United States within such a setting is damaging enough.
So all in all quite a tense news conference and another damaging day for American Diplomacy and Reputation/Credibility around the world; decades of efforts by many leaders/experts in building these foundations are being destroyed systematically by a reckless leader that is unable or unwilling to comprehend the significance of his role.