Sunday, December 2, 2018

Yes They Did

Updated with Bush funeral reference 12:30 PM

"Donald, Donald, I am so disappoint." Photo by Reuters/Marcos Brindicci via MSN.

I told you
President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin held what the White House described as “informal” conversations at the G20 summit in Argentina. 
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Saturday that the two spoke at a cultural dinner for leaders and their wives and husbands at the famed Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires Friday night.
Huckabee Sanders did not disclose the content of their conversation, but in a press conference later Saturday Putin revealed that Trump had questioned him about Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea. 
“I answered his questions about the incident in the Black Sea. He has his position. I have my own. We stayed in our own positions,” Putin told reporters, according to the Associated Press. (Newsweek)
Russia's seizure of two Ukrainian naval ships and a tugboat and 24 crew members who are still in dentention a week later was an "outrageous violation of Ukrainian sovereignty," as Ambassador Haley said, on behalf of and with instructions from "the highest level at the American government" (that "at" is pretty weird English). But not so outrageous you can't have a chat with an old friend you have so much in common with, right?

And not so informal that Putin couldn't cook up a formal-sounding cover story. Huckabee-Slanders tried to spin it more as the same conversation Trump and Mrs. Trump were having with everybody:
“As is typical at multilateral events, President Trump and the first lady had a number of informal conversations with world leaders at the dinner last night, including President Putin," Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. 
Like Trump was asking everybody about the incident in the Black Sea. As one does, you know.


Almost as interesting as the way he managed to sneak in an under-the-radar meeting with Putin, just as he did in last year's G20, is the way he avoided a press conference after the event out of respect, he said, for the bereavement of the Bush family.

I think this excuse has Sarah Huckabee-Slanders all over it, in its brazen inconsequentiality, but I'd also like to note how bizarre this is, in light of the fact that Bill Clinton held a six-minute Rose Garden press conference on 23 April 1994 the day after Richard Nixon died, devoted in fact to Nixon, a small matter perhaps, which didn't stop him from going to the funeral as well.

More relevantly than that, George W. Bush, following the death of Ronald Reagan on 4 June 2006, eulogized him in a recorded statement and held press availabilities with Jacques Chirac and Silvio Berlusconi the next day, showed up on Sea Island, Georgia, to host the G8 summit starting on the 8th, where he offered numerous photo op remarks as well as a full-scale 40-minute press conference when the summit was over on the 10th, and managed to offer a 20-minute eulogy at Reagan's funeral in Washington the next day.

All without noticeably disrespecting Reagan or his family.

Young George was, as I have often said, the worst president in US history until very recently, and I could add that he was also the laziest president at least since Warren G. Harding, but in that respect as in so many others he was as nothing compared to the current incumbent. Though it doesn't seem as if it's laziness either that's keeping him from having a press conference this week.

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