While President Trump may attack journalists and threaten to pull their White House press credentials if they don’t “treat the White House with respect,” his own lack of respect for international leaders and diplomatic protocol was on full display this morning at the ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
Rather than join his international head of state counterparts in taking a bus from France’s Élysée Palace to the Arc de Triomphe for the commemorative ceremonies, Trump and First Lady Melania took a separate motorcade to the event and arrived late, missing the moment when the other leaders arrived to bells tolling at the exact second that the armistice ending the deadly hostilities took effect a century ago.
World leaders are walking shoulder to shoulder along the Champs Elysses but Trump arrived separately and isn’t participating in this. pic.twitter.com/kRQlrVKihV
— David Nakamura (@DavidNakamura) November 11, 2018
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The Trump administration made excuses for the president’s inexcusable rudeness and breach of international norms, with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reflecting Trump’s fear-based worldview in attributing the separate travel arrangements to “security protocols.”
With Trump alienating America’s steadfast European allies, fighting with China in a trade and tariff war, and cozying up to the world’s most dictatorial and authoritarian regimes, the United States finds itself increasingly isolated on the international stage with a fractured foreign policy split between the Congressional advocates for the existing global order that has preserved relative peace and prosperity in the Western world over the last 70 years and President Trump’s nationalist and isolationist impulses that threaten to undermine existing alliances and lead to an era of chaos and uncertainty.
For a president so insistent on being treated with respect from journalists and other world leaders, Trump fails to realize that respect is something that should be mutual and is earned through one’s own behavior. It’s doubtful that it is a lesson that he will ever be able to earn and take to heart, which is why he must be restrained in his conduct of foreign policy by the incoming Democratic House of Representatives as much as possible by whatever means that they have at their disposal.
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Original reporting by Brett Samuels at The Hill.