Whatever you may think of President Trump, it’s important to be fair to him. You might have noticed that, on his recent trip to France (“five days of fury”), officially to mourn and praise America’s war dead on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, he managed to miss his first scheduled ceremony. It was at a cemetery where some of those American war dead were buried. He skipped it, thanks to a little uncomfortable rain, and came late for the second of those events at the Suresnes American Cemetery just outside Paris (this time complaining publicly about the rain). As TomDispatch regular Rajan Menon reminds us today, such acts brought a good deal of derision upon the president in Europe and here (or rather in the world of everywhere that we know as the Internet). What went unreported amid the mockery and the presidential excuses (the presidential helicopter couldn’t fly in such weather… security concerns…) was something I now exclusively report here. The president was absent for a reason he was far too brave to publicize: those “bone spurs” that had prevented him from taking part in the Vietnam War half a century ago were acting up again! So give him credit for silent heroism.
And let me mention one other thing about his Paris visit while I’m at it. An official close to the president (so close he may exist only inside my head) revealed to TomDispatch that The Donald’s advisers wanted him to give his speech at that second cemetery under a banner that would have read “Mission Accomplished.” Out of modesty (a word normally not associated with him), he refused. He felt that, until he could do more than — as Menon describes today — simply cause chaos among America’s allies or further encourage the splintering of the European Union and the NATO alliance, such an act would be presidentially immodest. He now reportedly swears that, as a Trump-praising evangelical minister recently put it, he’ll only stand under such a banner if he can truly “kick-start the end times.” Otherwise he fears he might repeat George W. Bush’s mistake.
Okay, I admit it. I’m just messing around with you, but Rajan Menon isn’t. Check him out and, in doing so, be reminded that a future Trumpian world increasingly looks like no laughing matter.