While Donald Trump clumsily tries to buy Greenland and gets rebuffed, he also starts quoting a radio host who now calls him the “King of Israel” and “the second coming of God.” I have to say I expected better from Trump and God.
It would be normal to put out back-channel feelers to Greenland — an independent state from Denmark while under its umbrella — about an acquisition. It would be comforting to know that the president knew who is sovereign and who is not, comforting to think that a “great negotiator” knew how to begin serious negotiations. Greenland is not without value to us, but to launch an approach clumsily in the press is not a good start.
Greenland has the right to say “no.” Denmark took the hit and its national sovereign, Queen Margrethe II, was snubbed because Trump doesn’t seem to know how to begin talks and with whom he should speak. Where are his advisers?
So, in his usual form of tantrum and name calling, he insults Denmark and its queen. He then moves on to say the country’s prime minister is “nasty,” which is very rich coming from a man who recently called a supporter at his own rally “fat” and regularly refers to elected members of Congress as “little, dumb, ugly.” The list goes on, as well you know.
This recent and public negotiation failure means Secretary of State Mike Pompeo now scrambles to clean up the mess. It is wise to remember Trump’s initial response was that he appreciated the “direct response,” which saves time and gets everyone pretty clear.
But wait. He kept thinking about it and it grew and grew and grew in his mind, hence the later name-calling and cancellation of a state visit.
I have been in on a lot of negotiations with major networks and, while governance entails a different style of negotiation, it is not unreasonable to expect the president can ramp up to a deal, negotiate a deal and make a deal. After all, he “wrote” a book called “The Art of The Deal.”
However, approaching the wrong “owner” of
Greenland, insulting the queen and country of Denmark and calling the prime minister of Greenland — the country he really wants to negotiate with —“nasty” is not a pattern I have ever seen in a successful negotiation.
Going through back channels, setting out reasoned arguments to persuade and, yes, some demands within the deal — these are tactics I have seen. That usually moves through a long string of compromises and restatements of goals and then, finally, you have a deal.
Punishing people and calling names is not good negotiation. It is childish and bullying and, in this case, runs the risk of further distancing our country from allies, allies whom we have cultivated and still need. Land and location is a big part of our military, and we do this sort of bad negotiating at our peril.
Trump has created a fight we did not need to have for no return. He could have taken on the NRA on behalf of the 251 mass shootings and all future gun deaths, but he chose Greenland.
Trump will probably go to his grave whinging and whining about how nasty people are to him. He will probably call someone a crude name with his last breath. But as president he should be speaking with a better mind and mouth.
He is insulted because “she is not talking to me, she is talking to the United States of America.” I wish he would use that rule every day in all his utterances. He is not just speaking to a person, he is speaking to citizens, to members of the branches of our government.
Words and intent matter. That is a sword that cuts in both directions. You can never, ever go wrong by erring on the side of politeness, kindness and reasoned thought. Sadly, this bullying is infectious, and others pick up his tone. This is all the more reason for him to modify it to more civil and truthful speech.
Sure, some love it saying that he is “telling it like it is” but is he really? Not with Greenland. He lashes out and does not think it through to the endgame. Donald Trump costs us respect and gains nothing.
If this is the new “King of Israel” and “the second coming of God,” then I am really confused by historic examples of leadership. And I am very confused by where God is taking us.
Joyce Reehling lives in Pinehurst. She retired here from New York after a 33-year career in theater, TV and commercials.