From the Left



A new mantra for the Trump administration: 'I honestly don't care anymore'

Dana Milbank on

WASHINGTON -- President Trump watched a sumo competition while visiting Japan, and -- who knew? -- he seemed to enjoy seeing corpulent men applauded for shoving others off the stage with brute force.

From his seat, beside the Japanese prime minister, it must have looked as though sumo, with its throwing, tripping and slapping, is a no-holds-barred endeavor, much like the Trump presidency.

But this is unfair to sumo. Sumo has a strict code of rules, in which the champion employs one of 82 kimarite, or winning moves. Use of illegal moves (kinjite) such as grabbing an opponent's topknot or groin, or striking with a closed fist, brings disgrace on the fighter and, at the top level, national scandal.

To teach young wrestlers to avoid kinjite, the Japanese hold shokkiri - staged sumo matches in which the contestants poke eyes, pull hair, give wedgies and perform other fouls, all to comic effect.

Shokkiri, with its big, misbehaving men, is a bit like American professional wrestling. And it's a whole lot like Trump's trip to Japan: a series of fouls, deliberately performed.

Pulling by the topknot: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proclaimed that "North Korea launched short-range ballistic missiles" in defiance of the U.N. Security Council. But Trump, with Abe at his side, falsely proclaimed, "There have been no ballistic missiles going out," and said he's "very happy with the way it's going, and intelligent people agree with me."


Poke in the eye: Trump national security adviser John Bolton said there was "no doubt" North Korea violated U.N. resolutions. North Korea responded by calling Bolton a "war maniac" with an abnormal "mental structure" -- and Trump sided with North Korea. "My people think it could have been a violation," Trump said, in a Putin-Helsinki reprise. "I view it differently." He called Kim Jong Un "very smart" and announced himself not bothered "personally" by the weapons tests.

Punch in the solar plexus: After former vice president Joe Biden called Kim a tyrant, North Korea called Biden a "fool of low I.Q." -- and Trump sided with the tyrant. Trump tweeted that he "smiled" when Kim "called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual." He later added, at a news conference with Abe, that Kim said "Biden is a low-IQ individual. He probably is, based on his record."

Kick to the head: Trump, on foreign soil, attacked "Sleepy" Biden for supporting the 1994 crime bill, a "dark period" because of its racist consequences. That occurred in essentially the same period Trump took out full-page ads urging the death penalty for the "Central Park Five," who were later exonerated.

Grabbing the groin: Trump, in his series of tweets overseas attacking domestic political opponents, put his Japanese hosts on the spot, saying they "told me that the Democrats would rather see the United States fail than see me or the Republican Party succeed -- Death Wish!"


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