Basil in China

Trump in China sounds like Basil Fawlty meeting Lord Melbury (who in fact is a conman).

President Trump heaped praise on President Xi Jinping of China on Thursday, blaming Mr. Trump’s own predecessors for China’s yawning trade surplus with the United States and saying he was confident that Mr. Xi could defuse the threat from North Korea.

Mr. Trump’s warm words, on a state visit to China replete with ceremony but short of tangible results, showed a president doubling down on his gamble that by cultivating a personal connection with Mr. Xi, he can push the Chinese leader to take meaningful steps on North Korea and trade.

In public, Mr. Trump projected an air of deference to China that was almost unheard-of for a visiting American president. Far from attacking Mr. Xi on trade, Mr. Trump saluted him for leading a country that he said had left the United States “so far behind.” He said he could not blame the Chinese for taking advantage of weak American trade policy.

You just know what he looked like. He’s no better at that kind of thing than he is at its opposite – he’ll have been pure Basil fawning on the conman pretending to be a toff.

Mr. Trump marveled at the reception Mr. Xi had given him, from a full-dress military parade in Tiananmen Square to a sunset tour of the Forbidden City. He congratulated him on consolidating power at a recent Communist Party congress, declaring, “Perhaps now more than ever we have an opportunity to strengthen our relationship.”

“You’re a very special man,” he told Mr. Xi in an appearance before reporters, at which they did not take questions.

Of course he did; that’s our Basil.

Mr. Xi, for his part, did not return Mr. Trump’s fulsome personal praise, seeming to treat him like any other American leader.

Because he’s not stupid enough to think that gross obvious asskissing is effective.

At their joint appearance, Mr. Trump turned to the Chinese president and declared, “A great responsibility has been placed on our shoulders. It is truly a great responsibility.”

What’s he trying to say? Something about a great responsibility, is it? It’s all a bit over my head.


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