Trump Blows Up The G-7

Hurricane Trump hit the G-7 this weekend, and the damage it left behind will take years to clean up.

The G-7 Summit in Canada only lasted two days, and President Trump ended up departing early rather than  participate in discussions on climate change and other issues, but in his wake it seems clear that he’s done real damage to America’s relationship with our most important and most loyal allies that will take years to fix even if he only spends one term in office:

QUEBEC CITY — President Trump upended two days of global economic diplomacy late Saturday, refusing to sign a joint statement with America’s allies, threatening to escalate his trade war on the country’s neighbors and deriding Canada’s prime minister as “very dishonest and weak.”

In a remarkable pair of acrimony-laced tweets from aboard Air Force One as he flew away from the Group of 7 summit toward a meeting with North Korea’s leader, Mr. Trump lashed out at Justin Trudeau. He accused the prime minister, who hosted the seven-nation gathering, of making false statements.

Literally moments after Mr. Trudeau’s government proudly released the joint statement, noting it had been agreed to by all seven countries, Mr. Trump blew apart the veneer of cordiality that had prevailed throughout the two days of meetings in a resort town on the banks of the St. Lawrence River.

“Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!” Mr. Trump wrote.

A few hours earlier, Mr. Trudeau said the seven nations had reached broad agreements on a range of economic and foreign policy goals. But he acknowledged that deep disagreements remained between Mr. Trump and the leaders of the other nations, especially on trade.

Mr. Trudeau had sought to play down personal clashes with Mr. Trump as he wrapped up the summit, calling the meeting “very successful” and saying he was “inspired by the discussion.” But he also pledged to retaliate against the United States tariffs on steel and aluminum products in defense of Canadian workers.

Mr. Trump, who apparently saw Mr. Trudeau’s news conference on television aboard Air Force One, was clearly enraged.

“PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @g7 meetings,” Mr. Trump said in a second tweet, “only to give a news conference after I left saying that, ‘US Tariffs were kind of insulting’ and he ‘will not be pushed around.’ Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!”

Not long after, John Bolton, the president’s national security adviser, tweeted out a dramatic photo of Mr. Trump, arms crossed and scowling, looking defiant as the leaders of the other nations stood in a circle around him.

Just another #G7 where other countries expect America will always be their bank,” Mr. Bolton wrote as the president’s plane stopped for refueling at Souda Bay on the Greek island of Crete. “The President made it clear today. No more.”

Mr. Trudeau’s office responded to the president’s Twitter barrage with a carefully worded statement.

“We are focused on everything we accomplished here at the summit,” said Cameron Ahmad, a spokesman for Mr. Trudeau. “The prime minister said nothing he hasn’t said before — both in public, and in private conversations with the President.”

The president’s outburst had been foreshadowed for days leading up to the Canada summit, with Mr. Trump and his counterparts trading sharp-edged barbs that included threats of punches and counterpunches on tariffs. President Emmanuel Macron of France accused Mr. Trump of being willing to remain isolated from the world.

That was followed by 48 hours of tense and often confrontational closed-door discussions between Mr. Trump and the leaders of America’s closest allies — France, Britain, Canada, Japan, Italy and Germany — in the hopes of resolving a brewing trade war among friends.

Instead, the gathering apparently served to further inflame Mr. Trump’s belief that the United States is being treated unfairly by countries with which prior presidents had long ago negotiated trade agreements for the flow of goods and services.

The result was a slow-rolling collapse of the fragile alliances that officials at the summit — and even Mr. Tump’s own White House advisers — insisted throughout the day could be maintained in the face of fundamental disagreements.

(…)

Mr. Trump, speaking to reporters at the end of the contentious meeting, said that eliminating all trading barriers would be “the ultimate thing.” He railed about what he called “ridiculous and unacceptable” tariffs on American goods and vowed to end them.

“It’s going to stop,” he said, “or we’ll stop trading with them. And that’s a very profitable answer, if we have to do it.” He added, “We’re like the piggy bank that everybody’s robbing — and that ends.”

The other six leaders were defiant in the face of Mr. Trump’s threats.

“I have made it very clear to the president that it is not something we relish doing, but it is something that we absolutely will do,” Mr. Trudeau said. “As Canadians, we are polite, we’re reasonable, but also we will not be pushed around.”

Mr. Macron said the trade debates at the summit were “sometimes quite heated.” Asked who won the tug-of-war with Trump, Mr. Macron said: “There is no winner, there are only losers when you take that strategy.”

Theresa May, the British prime minister, blasted Mr. Trump’s tariffs. She said she had registered “our deep disappointment at the unjustified decision” and that the loss of trade through tariffs would “ultimately make everyone poorer.”

The president’s public comments on trade Saturday echoed the complaints he made directly to the leaders from Canada, Japan and Europe in private sessions on Friday. Mr. Trump confronted several of the leaders individually, giving examples of how, in his view, each of their countries had mistreated the United States, whether it be through trade barriers or security commitments, according to a European official.

The president delivered a running monologue in one of the closed-door meetings, one person familiar with the discussion said. One minute, he slammed Germany for taking advantage of the United States by selling so many cars there. The next, he talked about how his grandfather was German and how much he loved Europe.

Several of the leaders responded aggressively to Mr. Trump’s demands — as they have repeatedly done in public — listing their own complaints about American tariffs and other trade measures, the official said. Several countries have said that they will retaliate against the United States’ new steel and aluminum tariffs with increased tariffs of their own.

“If they retaliate, they’re making a mistake,” Mr. Trump said on Saturday

More from The Washington Post, which notes that the President’s refusal to sign the tradition joint communique that is typically used to top off these meeting is not being well-received by our allies in Europe:

President Trump’s last-minute refusal to sign a joint statement with America’s closest allies was met with shock but also resignation in Europe, where leaders have grudgingly accepted an increasingly isolated U.S. presence on the world stage.

Trump’s decision — announced in a pair of tweets as he sped away in Air Force One from the annual G-7 summit, held this year in Quebec City — directly contradicted an announcement by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau moments before. Trudeau had announced that all seven member-states had signed the joint statement, a document Trump then said he ordered American representatives “not to endorse.”

The abandonment of America’s closest allies began long before the G-7, and European heads of state are now accustomed to a U.S. administration that shows little regard for its historic partners and the postwar order that has governed transatlantic relations since 1945.

Trump’s abandonment of the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear agreement and his decision to impose protectionist tariffs on European steel and aluminum products have established an unprecedented level of animosity between the United States and Europe.

For many in Europe, the question is now about how best to preserve any kind of multilateral cooperation. Dealing with Trump’s whims and last-minute changes of mind has proven a procedural nightmare, political analysts said.

“How is it possible to work this way if once you have agreed to something, two hours later the guy decides he doesn’t agree with what he agreed with?” said François Heisbourg, a former French presidential national security advisor.

“Is there any space for a multilateral order under these circumstances?”

But there were signs, among otherwise frustrated European leaders, that they see Trump and his “America First” agenda as an aberration and not necessarily as expressive of a new reality that will never change.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who among all European leaders arguably enjoys the strongest personal rapport with Trump, did not hesitate to voice his disappointment and displeasure at several moments the summit. But he also emphasized his belief that Trump’s vision of America was at odds with American values.

“President Trump saw that he had a united front before him,” Macron said via Twitter. “To find itself isolated in a concert of nations is contrary to American history.”

Macron, who lobbied Trump unsuccessfully to preserve the Iran nuclear deal earlier this spring, also noted on Saturday that Trump’s decisions do not speak for a unified United States.

“The importation of steel and aluminum does not pose a threat to U.S. domestic security!” Macron said in a tweet. “The basis of the U.S. decision raises doubts, including in the U.S. Congress and the U.S. administration.”

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May preferred tact to confrontation, even after Trump allies allegedly told the Telegraph newspaper that the U.S. president had grown weary of May’s “school mistress tone” and attention to details.

Asked Saturday evening by the press whether she “liked working with him,” May responded, “We have a very good relationship with President Trump.”

May did, however, allow that she and Trump had “a very frank discussion” about trade. May is not only hoping that Trump lift new tariffs on European aluminum and steel, but that he will promise a favorable pro-Brexit trade deal with the United Kingdom after it leaves the European bloc.

In Germany — Europe’s biggest economy and a top target of Trump’s ire on trade — there was indignation over the outcome of the G-7 summit. But there was little shock.

“It was not a surprise,” said Norbert Röttgen, chair of the foreign affairs committee in Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag. “The president acted and reacted in the childish way he could be expected to.”

Here are the tweets the President sent regarding the summit both before leaving Quebec City and as he was flying in Air Force One ahead of his summit this week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un:

To say that this summit meeting, which at least in the past has maintained an air of cordiality and recognition of mutual self-interest in the past, ended in a disaster is an understatement. Over the course of fewer than forty-eight hours, Donald Trump has undone what it has taken decades for the United States and its allies in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the rest of Europe, Canada, and Japan to build up. There are very few things that have been more stable over the past seventy years since the end of World War Two than the relationship between the United States and these allies, except perhaps the NATO alliance itself. These are alliances that have served the interests of the United States and our partners well, both on issues such as international trade and in national security matters. Indeed, it is worth remembering that the collective defense provision has only been enacted once, and that was in the wake of the September 11th attacks when America’s European allies stood together with us in the face of the threat of international terrorism and, in many cases, sent troops to Afghanistan to fight and die alongside American troops. Since becoming President, Trump has done everything he can to undermine these relationships.

In both cases, though, this President has spent the first seventeen months of his Presidency doing everything he can to undermine these relationships. It started, of course, with his decision to withdraw from the international agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Climate Accords, leaving the United States as the only nation in the world who has not signed on to what is essentially a voluntary compliance agreement in any case. During his first year in office, his two visits to Europe not only did little to assuage the doubts about his commitment to the existing international order in general and the NATO alliance specifically but expanded those doubts. With the exception of French President Emmanuel Macron, he developed exceedingly bad relations with the leaders of allies such as the United Kingdom and Germany that seemed guaranteed to lead to the disaster that unfolded in Canada Friday and Saturday. Finally, once he became President Trump continued to double down with the “America First” rhetoric that marked his campaign, rhetoric that may play well with his base but which ignores the realities

It’s been over the course of the first half of 2018, though, that this President has done particularly bad damage to our international alliances. Whether it’s his decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran, which was strongly opposed by our three closest allies in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany or his decision to slap tariffs on aluminum and steel from Canada, Mexico, and Europe on the absurd ground that they are somehow a threat to our national security. There have also been reports that the President is also taking other radical trade-related steps such as essentially banning the importation of German luxury automobiles Leaving aside the utter insanity of these actions , such tariffs, if they continue, are only going to serve to set off a trade war that will be disastrous for everyone and which will further erode the relationship between the United States and its allies.  The consequences of that for our future efforts to gain support from the U.K., France, or Germany for their cooperation in other areas seem rather obvious. At some point in his Presidency, Donald Trump is going to find himself in a situation where he needs the support and assistance of these allies. If he finds them unwilling to rally to his side, he’ll have nobody but himself to blame.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, National Security, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    That photo is one for the history books–and, to the eternal embarrassment of the United States, it will be in the history books. Bigly.

    A roomful of adults are trying, fruitlessly, to cajole a petulant geriatric child, lower lip shoved out in a grotesque out, arms crossed in defiance, into eating his din-din.

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  2. teve tory says:

    Mission accomplished! It’s all meaningless spectacle, but Trump has completely dominated media coverage for days and demonstrated that he’s an alpha male who couldn’t possibly care less about other world leaders—and if they don’t like it, then fuck ’em. Now he’s going to Singapore, where there will be lots of pageantry and red carpets and they know how to treat a guy right. As a bonus, he has also confirmed to the folks back home that he doesn’t care about gender equality, climate change, or any of that environmental crap.

    For Trump, this is the definition of a successful meeting. He literally got every single thing he wanted out of it.

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  3. teve tory says:

    Larry Kudlow and other Trumpers are floating the trial balloon that Trudeau is the one who blew up the G6. If they determine that most Trumpers are actually dumb enough to believe it, expect to see it repeated in force by later today.

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  4. TM01 says:

    That picture is why we love Trump.

    Maybe we should just do what you claim you want. Let’s get rid of all those tariffs and have actual free trade between the G7. It sure appears that you people aren’t actually opposed to tariffs in principle, but only to some tariffs. It’s like you don’t realize there already are tariffs among countries.

    “Vote Democrat because Trump made the French and Germans mad.”

    Yeah. Go with that. I’m sure it’ll work. LOL.

    It’s America First. Not Europe First. You’re missing how this is all a Feature, not a bug. Us uneducated, deplorable rubes are sick of your New World Order, socialist, holier than thou, condescending America Last crap.

    And since you brought up Iran… Should we hop right back into that “deal” now that they’ve admitted to assisting the 9/11 terrorists?

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  5. Scott F. says:

    Trump blew up the G7 after he’d flown away on Air Force One.

    Profile in Courage!

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  6. CSK says:

    @teve tory:

    They believed it hours ago, as witness this comment from Trump4Ever, i.e., Lucianne.com:

    “President Trump, a giant among men, walks through the land espousing truth and the masses run shrieking to their safe spaces.” — http://www.lucianne.com/thread/?artnum=945156

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  7. Kathy says:

    So the US needs to place tariffs on Steel and Aluminum from Europe, Canada and Mexico, because Canada has a high tariff for US dairy? Wasn’t it because of “national security”?

    In any case, if Canada, who is a member of both NAFTA and the WTO, imposes tariffs on anything the US sells, there are mechanisms within NAFTA and the WTO to adjudicate the matter and allow for retaliatory or compensatory tariffs in return.

    “We’ll slap Germany with high tariffs, that’ll teach them Canucks what’s what!” makes no sense even for a six year old child.

    Seriously, America, you need to get rid of this moron, or to put a check on him pronto, while there is some world left. You won’t like it if the EU and Canada decide they need their own nuclear deterrent because America is unreliable or hostile. You really won’t like it if that deterrent applies as much to you as it does to Russia and China.

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  8. Slugger says:

    We grew up in a bipolar world with the West facing off against the USSR and China hidden behind the Bamboo Curtain. The USSR collapsed about 25 years ago leaving the USA alone at the top of the heap. Worldly success is always transitory. There are three centers of $15 trillion economic power in the world, the USA, the EU, and China. It looks like the EU and the USA may diverge; military alliances will likely follow economic interests. If Trump were to ask me, I’d advise him to cultivate Canada if he plans to risk alienating the EU. If the tripolar world I postulate arises, then it would be good to have Canada in our corner. We don’t want a Mexico and a Canada tied to our rivals.

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  9. CSK says:

    I gotta say: The expression on Abe’s face is priceless.

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  10. al Ameda says:

    Do Trump and Bolton know that we have an $8 billion trade surplus with Canada?

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  11. Todd says:

    We have now reached the point where legitimate long-term damage has been done. For our allies, even if we do vote (or otherwise chase) Trump out of office, they would have no reason to trust the United States in the future; unless and until there is a virtual guarantee that this version of Republicanism is (electorally) dead and in the ground, with no hope of future revival.

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  12. teve tory says:

    @CSK: The mind boggles.

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  13. PJ says:

    @Todd:
    Well, the Soviet had five-year-plans, why can’t the EU, Canada, Japan, China, Australia, and so on adapt to four-year-plans?
    So lazy. Sad.

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  14. Todd says:

    @PJ: Oh, those countries will adapt, but it will be to our detriment.

    So many of Trump’s cheerleaders don’t understand that we need the rest of the world at least as much (if not more) than they need us. Our country’s two greatest strengths are our economy (which Trump is threatening with his trade wars) and our military (which will be less effective without forward basing and other logistical assistance from our allies).

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  15. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Us uneducated, deplorable rubes are sick of your New World Order, socialist, holier than thou, condescending America Last crap.

    It’s nice when they admit it, no?

    This is the definition of a petulant child – “I don’t care if I lose as long as you lose too”.

    It’s no wonder they selected a petulant child to hoist their banner.

    (The sad part for them is that the elites he professes to hate are prospering under Trump, just as they prosper under every administration. The paradox here is that I make money no matter who’s in office, while they go further down the rabbit hole no matter who’s in office. Pyrrhic victory, no? 🙂 )

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  16. teve tory says:

    80% of evangelical christians support trump. For them to call their opponents “holier than thou” is the least self-aware thing that may have ever happened in 241 years of American history.

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  17. teve tory says:

    Josh Marshall

    Verified account

    @joshtpm
    Following Following @joshtpm
    More
    This is classic Trump. Owned by Russia, bested by China, schooled by Germany. Time to kick Canada’s ass.

    10:32 AM – 10 Jun 2018

    😀

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  18. teve tory says:

    “We spent two days to obtain a text and commitments. We will stand by them and anyone who would depart from them, once their back was turned, shows their incoherence and inconsistency. . . . International cooperation cannot depend on fits of anger or little words. Let us be serious and worthy of our people.”

    -Macron

    Also a stupid blunder by Trump heading into the NK meeting to negotiate an agreement, and then cancel it as soon as your plane is in the air departing.

    This guy is the worst negotiator in the history of humanity. I’d hire an eighth-grader with a high GPA sooner than I’d hire this idiot.

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  19. teve tory says:

    If Trump hadn’t been born rich & inherited millions he’d be some creepy strip-club-dwelling 71-yr old selling above-ground pools in Queens.

    -John Fugelsang

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  20. Gustopher says:

    In that picture, is Bolton standing there slack jawed with his mouth open, or has he started singing Christmas Carols?

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  21. An Interested Party says:

    That picture is why we love Trump.

    Uh huh, everything is OK as long as the Orange Toddler stumbles around saying, “Trump Smash!” Hey, if you want to openly flaunt your stupidity, don’t let any of us stop you…

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  22. Mister Bluster says:

    That picture is why we love Trump.

    You love Trump because he grabs women by the pussy and screws porn stars commiting adultery.
    There is no substance to anything else he has done.

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  23. Hal_10000 says:

    The picture is the rubin vase of political pictures. Anti-Trumpists see World leaders trying to reason with a toddler; pro-Trumpists see him defying the world (in reality, it’s just one moment that is representative; other pictures of that show a more jovial discussion).

    As I keep saying, we’re going to be paying for this for decades. Lost opportunities, lost income, lost trade, lost business. Trump is a fool being advised by fools.

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  24. Sleeping Dog says:

    When the next president takes office in 2021 or, God help us, 2025, his/her partisans will be disappointed that #46 won’t deliver on the parties agenda, he’ll/she will spend much of their term repairing the damage that Trump has caused.

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  25. RWB says:

    This article shows a lack of understanding of Trump. What he has done is set up a scapegoat if he fails with Kim. It will be because the G-7 made him look weak. Nothing is ever Trumps fault and this will not be either. The base will fall for this hook, line, and sinker.

    As that philosopher Eric Cartman said many years ago, blame Canada.

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  26. An Interested Party says:

    …he’ll/she will spend much of their term repairing the damage that Trump has caused.

    In recent history, that is the standard operating procedure whenever a Democratic president follows a Republican president…

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  27. One American says:

    Blah blah blah We are Making America Great Again, stay tuned.

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  28. One American says:

    @Mister Bluster: you seem to be obsessed by your Presidents personal life, sad, much bigger issues to deal with.

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  29. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @One American:

    Where, exactly, and how, exactly?

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  30. One American says:

    Watch tomorrow

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  31. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @One American:

    So no answer then. As expected.

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  32. One American says:

    @HarvardLaw92: oh sorry, direct answer should be…watch tomorrow.

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  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    That picture is why we love Trump.

    FLOCK! I knew someone was going to say that on this thread.

    We have met the enemy, and, indisputably, he IS undoubtedly and irrevocably us. Approximately 46% of us to be specific. [54+% in Limbaugh/Trump math.]

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  34. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @One American:

    LOL, no. Your answer was “I got nothing”.

    Thanks for playing

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  35. teve tory says:

    So let me get this straight. We slap tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum on the grounds that it’s necessary for national security (which is utterly laughable), Justin Trudeau quite reasonably says this is offensive to that country as perhaps our closest ally in the world for the last century and a half, and Larry Kudlow calls that a “betrayal.” What fucking universe do these people live in? How have we not simply drummed that [person] out of any position of influence and authority for saying things that goddamn stupid? Oh, right. Because we’re a nation full of equally stupid people. I keep forgetting that.

    –ed brayton

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  36. Timothy Watson says:

    @CSK:

    That photo is one for the history books–and, to the eternal embarrassment of the United States, it will be in the history books. Bigly.

    And, in 15 years, some yokel teenager will be scribbling “MAGA” in the margins next to the picture, hoping to offend a minority or some ‘coastal elite’ transplant.

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  37. Mister Bluster says:

    …much bigger issues to deal with.

    Yes. Like REPUBLICAN President Donald Trump’s affinity for the american Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and other white power racist pigs that want to kill American Citizens that are not white.

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