June 23, 2016

Is it just a coincidence that Trump is in Scotland the day the U.K. is voting on Brexit?

The NYT is portraying him as cluelessly attending to a business venture, while his campaign here in the U.S. is understaffed and underfunded. The article is by Ashley Parker and Maggie Haberman, to whom Trump recently said: "You two wouldn’t know how to write a good story about me if you tried."

In today's article, Parker and Haberman say:
Normally when presidential contenders travel abroad, they do so to burnish their foreign policy credentials, cramming their schedules with high-level meetings with foreign dignitaries and opining on the pressing international issues of the day. But, to a large extent, Mr. Trump’s business interests still drive his behavior, and his schedule. He has planned two days in Scotland, with no meetings with government or political leaders scheduled.

And despite the fact that Mr. Trump touches down in Britain the day after its “Brexit” vote on whether to leave the European Union, his itinerary — a helicopter landing at his luxury resort, a ceremonial ribbon cutting and family photo, and a news conference — reads like a public relations junket crossed with a golf vacation.

“Traditionally, nominees travel oversees during this period to brush up their foreign policy depth and visit 10 Downing Street and Israel — for politics back here,” said Scott W. Reed, senior political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Everyone knows this is the wrong thing for the nominee to be doing now, and it is amazing this can’t be stopped.”
Everyone knows.... But I suspect Trump knows some things that other people don't know and has ideas about what he's doing that are not reflected in the itinerary. Maybe golfing and attending to business in Scotland is better political theater than hobnobbing with government and political leaders.

Remember how the various characters Trump beat went to London?
A tour of London is becoming an unpleasant rite of passage for American politicians with presidential ambitions. Republican Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana traveled to the United Kingdom recently to try to burnish their foreign policy credentials. Next up is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is in London this week as his early-state polling numbers back home have started to tick up. They've all found that traveling across the pond can be more like sailing into a perfect storm.

They've all found that traveling across the pond can be more like sailing into a perfect storm. For Christie, his troubles stemmed from a puzzlingly ambiguous comment about vaccinations that unleashed a firestorm of disapproval and quickly had the governor's aides scrambling to clarify his initial remarks. For Jindal, it was his condemnation of so-called "no-go" zones and "non-assimilation" of immigrants in Europe that had his critics agitated even after he was back on American soil.

Walker wasn't able to entirely escape controversy. He punted on a question about evolution on Wednesday, saying it's not a topic for politicians to discuss -- an answer that could revive scrutiny of how some Republicans interpret science.
Trump isn't going to London, but to Scotland.

Back to Parker and Haberman:
When Barack Obama headed to Europe as a presidential candidate in 2008, and Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee, traveled to England, Israel and Poland during his campaign, both men went to demonstrate their global savvy and stature, in meticulously planned visits. (Mr. Romney’s trip, nonetheless, was a gaffe-ridden disaster and many of his aides later said they wished he had stayed home.)
Why, oh why, did what worked for Obama not work for Mitt Romney? Once might say everybody knows European leaders don't like to be used as props to give Republicans the appearance of "global savvy and stature."
Showing up right after the Brexit vote, in the middle of a tumultuous time, is leaving Mr. Trump especially vulnerable to criticism, as well as creating the potential for an international blunder.
How can he blunder if he has no political events on his itinerary? You can't have it both ways! Either his visit is Brexit connected or mere coincidence. You have to entertain the theory that he's doing some sort of political theater that's not yet clear. But points for revealing that you're rooting for him to commit an international blunder.
When asked about the vote in an interview this month with The Hollywood Reporter, Mr. Trump seemed not to be familiar with Britain’s referendum, first answering, “Huh?” and then, “Hmm.” Finally, after the Brexit vote was explained to him, Mr. Trump answered with his trademark decisiveness: “Oh yeah, I think they should leave,” he said, a sentiment he has since repeated. On Wednesday morning, however, Mr. Trump told Fox Business that his opinion on the issue was not significant since he had not followed it closely.
Dumb or cagey. I'm thinking the pro-Brexit Brits know Trump's on their side and see that he's on their territory, territory they are intent on protecting from the insufficiently British hoards — sentiment that corresponds to Trump's signature issue back in the U.S.A.

Golfing is symbolic of the traditional in Scotland as the U.K. votes on embracing its traditional identity. So golfing — and attending to business — may be good political theater. You have to think about the optics, and what can be used against a Republican will be used. But I'm thinking these optics work for him.

And by the way... is Obama — who golfs more than any President — ever criticized for the bad optics? It takes quite a lot, but the answer is yes:

40 comments:

JPS said...

"Mr. Romney’s trip, nonetheless, was a gaffe-ridden disaster"

Funny - I don't remember any gaffes. I do remember those two laughing reporters and the woman yelling, "Governor Romney! What about your gaaaaffes?!"

Bob Boyd said...

"Normally...."

[Mirthless laugh]

Carol said...

revealing that your rooting for him

Omigod it's spreading...

ndspinelli said...

I can't get the Nat King Cole classic, Ramblin' Rose, out of my head now. Althouse needs an editor. Few people read these diarrhea posts. They may comment, as am I. But, they don't read the stream of semi consciousness polemics.

Sean Gleeson said...

"...territory they are intent on protecting from the insufficiently British hoards..."

I agree. Most of the famous British hoards are not really British at all, comprising mainly ancient Roman coins. But the territory is British.

Curious George said...

"And by the way... is Obama — who golfs more than any President — ever criticized for the bad optics? It takes quite a lot, but the answer is yes:"

Hardly. Look at those links. Except for a few conservative entities like the Washington Times, the MSM links are reporting Obama admission that he shouldn't have golfed after Foley was beheaded. They are hardly critical of Obama.

tim in vermont said...

So is he going to visit Hadrian's Wall?

tim in vermont said...

I agree. Most of the famous British hoards are not really British at all, comprising mainly ancient Roman coins. But the territory is British.

Some of them have Arab coins, acquired in return for slaves captured in raids across Europe.

mockturtle said...

Trump could arguably be called many things but 'clueless' he is not.

Brando said...

"Funny - I don't remember any gaffes. I do remember those two laughing reporters and the woman yelling, "Governor Romney! What about your gaaaaffes?!""

The one I recall was him commenting on the difficulties of the London Olympics (contrasted with his own fixing of the Salt Lake City Olympics) and a lot of the British press giving him grief for it. Not that he was wrong, but these trips are supposed to be sunny photo ops only--so voters can see them shaking hands with PMs and say "hey, that guy looks like a president!". I think it revealed more about the British press than anything.

Trump's over there for one reason only--to try and get press for his resort there and get it making a profit. I don't think he really has an opinion on Brexit. This isn't some 3D chess game, but rather a guy who doesn't plan to quit his day job.

tim in vermont said...

He should be pointing out that this whole Brexit thing was brought to a head by Hillary's bumbling warmaking in the Mediterranean, causing the huge influx of refugees, and of course worsened by Frau Merkel, who invited them into the EU without by the millions giving Britain less of a consult than Hilter might have.

Michael said...

I'm sorry, but "golf" is not a verb (whatever the dictionaries say.) One plays golf or is playing golf; one does not golf. You don't hear of anyone tennising or chessing or baseballing.

tim in vermont said...

Pedantry is a word. And "golf" as a verb goes back at least to the 19th century, when golf courses were sometimes called "golfing grounds." I go golfing a lot. I do't play the R&A rules of the "Game of Golf" I use foot wedges, throw the ball out of the bunker after two misses, etc etc etc, am I "playing golf" or am i out hitting a ball with sticks? or am I golfing?

eric said...

A lot of these Reporters ask themselves, when confronted about any story concerning the Republican candidate, "How can I make this look bad for them?"

Unknown said...

What is missing is that Trump is universally disliked in Scotland, the UK and Europe.

Otoh, Obama is universally liked in Scotland, the UK and Europe. I bet that hurts the Trumpsters the most.

cubanbob said...

What is the downside to Trump in this trip? None as far as I can see. He resolves a business matter and if the UK votes out thematically it works for him. If it doesn't he isn't tied to any of the British leaders who are all in the Remain faction and again thematically that is what he is running against. As for Hillary when she does the tour of Europe instead of looking presidential she will look very bribable and blackmail-able as there won't be a single high level official who hasn't had access to her emails.

tim in vermont said...

You use that word "universally" but I don't think you know what it means.

But I can see where globalists like yourself and Hillary think that European interests should outweigh our own.

bagoh20 said...

So if he did what he's "supposed" to they would say what, something positive about him? I'm a bit incredulous. If Hillary fell in a mud puddle on Downing street they would describe her perfect form and splashless entry and give her a gold medal for diving.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

senior political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

That says it all. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is very much opposed to Trump since cheap illegal labor, outsourcing, and H1B and H2B visas are there business plan.

readering said...

If the UK votes to leave the EU, Scotland is expected to vote to leave the UK and rejoin the EU.

traditionalguy said...

You can't predict the Trump. He moves into strategic places fast and returns before the Media Slander Machine gets its story polished.

That is a talent seldom seen but perfect for eDigital Age. Trump is a Raider like any good Viking should be.

MadisonMan said...

Am I terrible for not knowing what Brexit means?

Apparently it's a vote for secession or something? Maybe I'll google it.

OTOH, I have lots of work to do.

MadisonMan said...

Oh. BR-exit.

rehajm said...

"Everyone knows this is the wrong thing for the nominee to be doing now, and it is amazing this can’t be stopped.”

Those of us more observant than 'everyone' find the notion of part time politicians quite appealing.

M Jordan said...

@Michael: "I'm sorry, but "golf" is not a verb (whatever the dictionaries say.) One plays golf or is playing golf; one does not golf. You don't hear of anyone tennising or chessing or baseballing."

Wrong. First, any noun can function as a verb. That's one of the glories of English. "Man up!" "We housed twenty guests." "We will, we will, rock you." English words aren't inherently any part of speech. A word isn't a noun or berb or whatever until it's used in a sentence.

Then there's that little "Nobody says tennising, chessing, etc. bit you tacked on at the end. How about bowling, fishing, and 'balling,' as the young folk now say?

English is greatly flexible. The rules of Latin are not the rules of English, though for a long time this was the errant teaching a nation of school kids received.

Mary Beth said...

Is Trump playing golf (a non-event at this point) a bigger gaffe than Obama going over to lecture Britain on why it should stay in the EU? The discussion I heard about it on a public radio show made it sound like he probably converted some people to join the Leave vote.

M Jordan said...

@Madison Man. "Am I terrible for not knowing what Brexit means"

Yes, you are terrible. Sorry to have to break the news to you. I too am terrible, btw.

Fred Drinkwater said...

The whole article is perverse. It's just a whine that Trump is not adhering to convention, and begs the questions of if and why that's a convention in the first place.
Is the writer still in middle school?

Bill Williams said...

I don't believe Obama has played near as many rounds of golf as did Eisenhower. Or maybe Althouse is too young to remember that conservative icon...

hombre said...

"...Scott W. Reed, senior political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Everyone knows this is the wrong thing for the nominee to be doing now, and it is amazing this can't be stopped."

Says a senior pimp for the illegal immigration pimping USCoC.

Lauderdale Vet said...

"Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves!
Britons never, ever, ever shall be..."

Well, I guess we'll have to see about that.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Trump is probably just in Scotland just to renew his passport.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

It also shows personal courage, traveling to the home country of the illegal alien who just attempted to assassinate you.

rehajm said...

Wrong...English is greatly flexible. The rules of Latin are not the rules of English, though for a long time this was the errant teaching a nation of school kids received.

The point being addressed is not the question grammatical correctness but of usage and what it reveals about the speaker. The term 'golfing' would never be used by a professional in the sport or by a committed amateur player, with 'player' being the accepted term. 'Golfing' is a marker of a beginner or someone unfamiliar with the sport. To a 'golfer' it is nails on a chalkboard.

rehajm said...

BTW it's rather pointless to express dissent with any of these types of stories. Their purpose is to equate Trump with a negative. Any negative. That it is factually incorrect, unfair or misses the point is irrelevant. It is a snowflake in the avalanche they hope to bury Trump in.

MadisonMan said...

To a 'golfer' it is nails on a chalkboard.

You mean To a pedantic 'golfer'...

Unknown said...

Its amazing to me how I keep being told by the media that Trump has no chance but I keep reading these desperate articles from the MSM hyperventilating how Trump does'nt get it, he doesn't understand the proper rules blah, blah, blah. Boy, they sure don't seem very confident, do they?

Darrell said...

Mr. Obama's presidency, nonetheless, was a gaffe-ridden disaster.

eric said...

Now that Brexit looks likely, I'm thinking this Trump trip to Britain was genius. He's going to get a lot of face time on the cameras for this.

Quaestor said...

Trump's there to teach them the Bruxelles B'uh Bye!