Donald J. Trump has a big problem, or many “yuge” problems according to HBO star John Oliver, who was back last night with a vengeance.
The core of the show centered on the vacuum created by Trump on the world political stage by ignoring and insulting allies and refusing to appoint ambassadors in many critical countries where “soft power”, a State Department benefit that comes from dialogue and presence, is needed.
Trump, according to Oliver, is “America First” ad nauseum, to the point of putting the country in harm’s way.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver sequentially outlined the political gaffes and missteps thus far made by the reigning POTUS who deems any facts he dislikes as “fake news” while blithely blundering when in world summit confabs and meetings.
His lack of finesse when dealing with world leaders has made him a laughing stock with the world and even American allies, like world
leaders Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who publicly make fun of the bloviating American president at a recent event.
None of this is good for Americans says British born Oliver, who cites his love for his new adopted country.
The abandoning of “soft power” worried Oliver the most.
He said: “[Soft Power] basically refers to the ability to get others to do what you want them to do without using carrots or sticks. It’s kind of a country’s brand and a nation soft power can come from many sources, from your pop culture to the ideals you express to your reputation and diplomacy can play a major part in it. Even hard power practitioners like Trump’s own Secretary of Defense Jim Mad Dog Mattis supports the soft power work that’s done by the State Department. That is why a few years back he gave a full-throated defense of properly funding it.”
In a video clip of Mattis, the SOD said: “Frankly they need to be as fully funded as Congress believes appropriate because if
you don’t fund the State Department fully then I need to buy more ammunition.”
Oliver noted that without diplomacy there will be more wars.
He added: “Trump has shown little interest in soft power… his administration recently proposed a 29 percent cut to the State Department and foreign aid and there are many high-level vacancies at the State Department to say nothing of our lack of
ambassadors… from Belgium to Belize, South Korea to South Africa.”
Other countries without American ambassadors also include the EU, plus Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Quick to point out how poorly Trump has done so far with the few appointees he has made, Oliver pulled up Trump appointee Peter Hoekstra, the ambassador to the Netherlands who famously lied to the press in the Netherlands by saying he never said there were “no go zones in the Netherlands and that cars and politicians are being set on fire.”
Hoekstra gallingly claimed he never spoke those words. Yet Oliver produced a video where under oath, and caught on video Hoekstra is indeed saying that cars and politicians are being burned and that there are no go zones in the Netherlands.
Trump’s attitude was clearly revealed by Oliver in a series of videos that caught POTUS saying, in essence, he was the “only one who mattered” when it came to State Department matters.
Trump said: “Let me tell you the one that matters is me. I’m the only one that matters because when it comes to it that’s what the policy is going to be. I’m the only one that matters.”
Oliver outlined the dismay that Western European leaders are facing in this new Trump world order, and saved the most chilling video clip for last showing a Russian comedian making fun of Trump, receiving a call from his dear friend Putin.
The Russian TV comedian was parodying Trump’s suspiciously close relationship to Putin and was translated as saying [in Trump’s voice] : “Hillary [Clinton], the other day Hillary asked me, ‘Donald, do you love Russia? I answered yes I do I love Russia but you have no evidence against me.”
The video clip panned over to a Cheshire smiling Vladimir Putin with his female companion smiling and laughing.
Oliver said: “By God that is as happy as I’ve ever seen Putin ever. I guess at least we now know what type of humor that Putin likes…he likes the kind where he meddles in another country’s election succeeds has a joke about it made to his face in public and then realizes it all worked out. No one can touch him. That’s the kind of humor that Putin likes.”
In closing, Oliver said: “Please allow me to speak to the rest of the world in America’s defense for a moment because Donald Trump does not reflect America.”
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver airs Sundays at 11 W/P on HBO.