The first (as far as we know) in person meeting of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 meeting got of to a rather awkward beginning with the international press flashing away and the two Presidents seated side by side at the center of a half moon, flanked by their foreign policy Gurus, Tillerson and Lavrov, with translators perched behind their shoulders. All were clearly uncomfortable coming into the meeting, although Trump managed a respectful handshake. Their words were formal and correct but their body language was telling a different story. The tensions of the last months have definitely taken a toll. However, at the very end of the event after the press event was called to a close, Putin leaned in and said something to Trump that caused them both to smile.
I made a little slide show of amusing moments from this bizarre meeting:
I find my self focusing (obsessively at times) on the fact that much of what Trump has promised has already been enacted by Obama and the Clintons.
Even Thom Hartman was saying the other night that Trump now says he’s just going to build a fence on the Mexican border and since there is already a fence on the Mexican border, it will just be filling in extensions. So, he’ll just be (in Hartman’s words) adding a few more stretches of barbed wire. Hartman framed this is a bad thing on Trump’s part because he backed down from a campaign promise. But it seems to me that he, like pretty much every President faces realities when he comes to office that didn’t affect campaign rhetoric, and he is openly acknowledging the status quo which is an open invitation to us who want to reject it.
Same thing about not allowing Syrian immigrants into the country without special vetting. That bill passed with nearly unanimous Democratic support more than a year ago. I remember I was mad that my supposedly very liberal Democratic Congresswoman supported it unequivocally. Only a couple thousand Syrian refugees have been allowed to migrate to the US over the entire course of the horrific war the US and allies are fueling, funding and even fighting in their country.