Chocolate cake diplomacy

Jenna Johnson at the Post shows how completely random Trump’s thinking is and how frivolously he expresses it in an interview on Fox Business Network this morning.

Soon after the strike, Trump delivered a statement Thursday night from his private club in Palm Beach, Fla., saying that he was moved to act after reports that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons to kill “helpless men, women and children,” including “beautiful babies.” After delivering those scripted remarks, the president retreated from public discussion of the attack, while his aides tried to explain how this strike fits with Trump’s “America First” doctrine and campaign pledge not to get involved with conflicts in other countries.

It doesn’t, of course. Either he didn’t know anything about what Bashar al-Assad was up to before last week, or he didn’t care, or he didn’t think it through.

In the Fox Business interview, Trump promised that “we’re not going into Syria,” but he also made clear that he’s willing to take action when fellow world leaders use “horrible, horrible chemical weapons.” Trump expressed alarm at the Syrian regime’s use of barrel bombs, oil drums packed with explosives and nails or other shrapnel that are rolled out of helicopters. These crude, imprecise munitions are dropped on Syria nearly daily and have killed thousands of people, according to activists tracking the deaths.

“That’s the worst thing — I’ve never seen anything like it,” Trump said.

He says that as if it’s meaningful. It’s not. He’s never seen anything like it because he hasn’t been looking. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, and he doesn’t even know that he doesn’t know. He thinks his own surprise is evidence of novelty, but he couldn’t be more wrong.

Trump called Assad “an animal” and “truly an evil person” and said it is now up to Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw his support of the Syrian regime.

“I really think that there’s going to be a lot of pressure on Russia to make sure that peace happens, because, frankly, if Russia didn’t go in and back this animal, you wouldn’t have a problem right now,” Trump said. “[Assad] was going to be overthrown…. And then Russia came in and saved him. And then Obama made one of the worst deals in history with the Iran deal. So you really have Iran, and you have Russia, and you have Assad.”

So there’s our poor confused Donnie, with his access to nukes and all. Just the other week he was telling Sean Hannity what a great guy Putin is and how sucky the US is, and now this. Apparently he’s only just learned that Putin is backing Assad. I don’t think that’s because nobody ever mentioned it to him.

Trump also told the story — with a bit of delight — of how he informed Chinese President Xi Jinping of the Syrian strike. Xi visited the United States last week and was at Mar-a-Lago with the president when the strike occurred.

Trump said that he and Xi had just finished dinner and were eating dessert — “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen,” Trump said — and he received a message that the ships carrying the missiles were “locked and loaded.” Trump ordered the strike, then turned to Xi to explain what was happening.

“I said, ‘Mr. President, let me explain something to you’ — this was during dessert — ‘we’ve just fired 59 missiles’ — all of which hit, by the way, unbelievable, from, you know, hundreds of miles away, all of which hit, amazing,” Trump said, breaking into the dialogue of his own story with an aside that ended with accusing Obama of depleting the military.

Which is typical, and again, not what you want in a person who has the responsibilities and powers of the office he holds. You want someone who can sustain a train of thought for more than 20 seconds.

“So what happens is, I said, ‘We’ve just launched 59 missiles heading to Iraq, and I wanted you to know this,’ ” Trump said, accidentally saying Iraq instead of Syria. “And he was eating his cake. And he was silent.”

His cake that was the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen, which is an important point, so don’t forget it.

Trump said Xi paused for 10 seconds, then asked an interpreter to repeat what Trump had said.

“He said to me, ‘Anybody that uses gases’ — you could almost say ‘or anything else’ — ‘but anybody that was so brutal and uses gases to do that to young children and babies, it’s okay,’ ” said Trump, who has been known to misquote people in recounting conversations. “He was okay with it. He was okay.”

The cake was that good.

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