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New year, same Trump

Dana Milbank on

Some insults come from ignorance. A White House news release identified the People's Republic of China as "the Republic of China" -- China's antagonist Taiwan. At the G-20 Summit, Trump posted a photo on Instagram of him "and the president of Indonesia, Joko Widodo." The man in the photo with Trump was Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore. Trump has likewise referred repeatedly to Tanzania as Tan-ZANY-a, and he has invented a country called "Nambia," to the likely consternation of Namibia and Zambia.

Less excusable is Trump calling the mayor of London "pathetic" and telling Prime Minister Theresa May to mind her own business when she protested his retweeting of a British white-supremacist group.

Trump doesn't spare the weak, reportedly claiming all immigrants from Haiti "have AIDS." But he generally avoids insulting strongmen such as Russia's Vladimir Putin, the Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte, Egypt's Abdel Fatah al-Sissi and the Saudi rulers.

It's not unusual that he denounces Cuba and Venezuela. But he seems to take joy in poking the eyes of friends and neighbors, including Mexico ("one of the highest crime nations in the world"), Canada (trade practices a "disgrace"), France ("Paris is no longer Paris") and Germany (declining to shake German Chancellor Angela Merkel's hand).

Dissing friends is confusing business. Iraq is an ally -- but it was included in Trump's first travel ban.

Chad is an ally, but it was included in a later travel ban -- because it didn't have the right kind of passport paper.

(Trump, by the way, has a "very good relationship" with China -- when it isn't "raping our country.")

Before he became president, Trump insulted Germany ("a total mess"), Merkel ("ruining Germany"), South Africa ("a crime ridden mess") and the United Nations ("so sad!").

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Now he's threatening to cut U.N. funding and to punish nations that supported a General Assembly resolution denouncing Trump's decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley threatened that "the U.S. will be taking names."

Hope she brought a lot of paper. Fully 128 nations, including France and Britain, defied the Trump threats, while 56 others abstained or skipped the vote. Only eight supported the U.S. position, and those were mostly microstates in the south Pacific.

That's quite an achievement: After a year of insults, Trump can now count America's friends on the fingers of two hands.

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Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank.

(c) 2018, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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