Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

Opinion: Rudy, Rudy, Rudy ...


Rudy Giuliani is the perfect spokesman for Donald Trump. Who better to represent the president than an egomaniacal, thrice-married clown from New York City who can’t keep his big mouth shut?

Appearing at an investment conference in Israel this morning, a mere six days before the scheduled summit between Trump and a notoriously touchy Kim Jong Un, Giuliani bragged that thanks to Trump, Kim had gotten "on his hands and knees and begged (for the summit), which is exactly the position you want to put him in.”

Let’s set aside a debate about the accuracy of that statement, because in truth both Trump and Kim are hungering for the attention that a summit will bring. Let’s focus instead on the Mount Everest-level stupidity reflected in Giuliani’s statement.

You’re about to open critically important negotiations with the one foreign leader with an inferiority problem bigger than Trump’s, a man who craves respect even more than he craves a McDonald’s hamburger. And for no reason whatsoever, other than to brag and preen, you insult that person in an international setting. You slap him across the face and tell Kim and the world that even before the negotiations have begun, Trump has managed to shame and humiliate him and force him to come begging on his hands and knees.

Thanks, Rudy. Great move, Mister Mayor. I’ve never had any serious hope that this summit can be successful, and one major reason is the utter incompetence of the Trump foreign policy team. This is just one example of that gross ineptitude, and if you want more, I have them.

Take Richard Grenell, Trump’s newly arrived ambassador to Germany. In a matter of weeks, he has so angered people there that German politicians have begun calling for his outright expulsion from the country.

It began when Grenell, a former Fox News contributor, sent out a tweet after Trump’s abandonment of the Iran deal. In it, Grenell treated Germany as if it were a mere client state of the United States, awaiting our bidding. 

“As @realDonaldTrump said, US sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy,” Grenell wrote in the tweet. “German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.”

Later, in an interview with Breitbart, Grenell explained that as ambassador to Germany, "I absolutely want to empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders" and that he wants to “strengthen other conservative movements in the whole of Europe.”

It is not an ambassador’s role to meddle in an ally’s internal affairs, and the German government, which is attempting to deal with the rise of far-right groups both at home and across Europe, was not amused.

“If the German ambassador in Washington would say that he is there to strengthen the Democrats, he would be expelled straight away,” as one German politician aptly put it.

That brings us to Heather Nauert, another former Fox News personality now serving as spokesperson for the U.S. State Department. In comments Tuesday, she attempted to smooth over German anger at Grenell’s statements by listing examples of the long history of U.S.-German cooperation.  

“We have a very strong relationship with the government of Germany,” as she put it. “Looking back in the history books ... Tomorrow is the anniversary of the D-Day invasion."'



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About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.