Delivered in a steady, unemotional cadence foreign to American cable shoutfests, an Australian journalist’s no-less scathing assessment of President Donald Trump’s G20 performance is going viral.
“Donald Trump is a man who craves power because it burnishes his celebrity,” says Chris Uhlmann, political editor for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “To be constantly talking and talked about is all that really matters, and there is no value placed on the meaning of words — so what’s said one day can be discarded the next.”
The video was tweeted yesterday by the ABC’s Insider news program, and has been “liked” more than 39,000 times. For a bit of perspective, yesterday’s Top Gun tweet from Donald Trump Jr. has scored fewer than 14,000 likes, with 4,650 retweets.
“Some will cheer the decline of America,” Uhlmann intones at one point before adding “but I think we’ll miss it when it’s gone, and that’s the biggest threat to the values of the West, which he claims to hold so dear.”
Against footage of Trump meandering solo at a large G20 summit dinner event or shunted to the margins of that big group photo, Uhlmann paints an excruciatingly vivid word portrait. “He was an uneasy, lonely, awkward figure at this gathering and you got the strong sense that some of the leaders are trying to find the best way to work around him.”
Says Uhlmann, “We learned that Donald Trump has pressed fast-forward on the decline of the United States as a global leader. He managed to isolate his nation, to confuse and alienate his allies and to diminish America.”
And this: Trump, Uhlmann says, is “a man who barks out bile in 140 characters, who wastes his precious days as president at war with the West’s institutions — like the judiciary, independent government agencies and the free press.”
And: “He has no desire and no capacity to lead the free world.”
Uhlmann, after questioning the president’s G20 failure to condemn North Korea and thus put pressure on China and Russia, appears at one point to give Trump credit for the “Western values” speech in Poland, but it’s a feint.
“There’s a tendency among some hopeful souls to confuse the speeches written for Trump with the thoughts of the man himself — he did make some interesting, scripted observations in Poland about defending the values of the West,” Uhlmann says. “And he’s in a unique position. He’s the one man who has the power to do something about it. But it’s the unscripted Trump that’s real.”