Let’s start with a logic problem. There are two doors out of a room. When you leave the room, you aren’t allowed to re-enter. One of the doors leads to where you want to go, and one does not. In this room with you are two people: one of them always tells the truth and one of them always lies. How did you get into the Oval Office?
The reason the joke works at all is because the President has issued so many lies that he no longer retains trust with the majority of the world. He has his adherents, and they are firm, but even some of them admit that Trump and technical truth are often at odds. Among his detractors and the casually disinterested, the polling is consistent: he is viewed as a reflexive liar.
His fervent fans are typically found in two places. First, the United States, where an entire media wing has dedicated itself to convincing its viewers and listeners that Trump is what he says he is: a resounding success whose policy decisions have reaped great results throughout the country and the world. Second, oppressor nations, where the ruling cadres find a rare acceptance and support from a man whose position has often borne the legend “leader of the free world”.
President Trump opened this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos with a message of growth. He read a prepared speech about the spectacular U.S. economy and warned about buying into hype from global warming extremists. He encouraged other world leaders to look after their populaces rather than cede authority to groups with long histories of advocating for wealth redistribution and anti-free market solutions.
He’s not wrong about the global warming hype. It exists, and there are many examples which can be found of data being improperly presented as well as contradictory data being suppressed. Even as very reasonable people can present cases on man-made climate change being real and a pressing crisis, other reasonable people can point to flaws in the theory as presented. Entire books have been written on the subject, from both perspectives and by people with strong science backgrounds.
The climate extremists have chosen their representative. It is Greta Thunberg, a young woman who has not been able to successfully complete her high school science courses, but who brings to the argument enough wealth to perform high-profile acts and who is both telegenic and earnest.
Thunberg is a very poor choice for spokesperson. While she brings youth to the table, within a few years she is going to be yet another wealthy twentysomething telling people how to live. Already she is past her prime years as a child activist, teetering on the lip of being indistinguishable from tens of thousands of college freshmen.
Any reasonable choice to present the flaws in the global extremism arguments should be enough to prevent acceding to the demands of international socialists. Instead we have Donald Trump.
Trump reads speeches unconvincingly. His primary skill was that of a pitchman, not a salesman. He was able to present people things they were interested in purchasing in a way that convinced them their predilections were correct, but he was never good at getting people to buy things they didn’t already want. Even his skill as a pitchman has dwindled considerably over the past decade; comparing past video to current recordings demonstrates that.
Trump’s time at the World Economic Forum has two important audiences, and neither of them are in the United States.
The first is the attendees, a group of world leaders and business owners who have significant influence on world events. They view Trump with distrust. They are fully briefed on the true nature of the world economies and when Trump lies to them, as he did repeatedly throughout the speech, it does not engender trust on related subjects.
The second are the populations of other nations. Trump needs to do little to convince anyone in the United States of the wisdom of his actions; he’s in charge, and those actions are likely to be performed. But people in other countries are going to pressure their leaders to adopt or reject the American stance.
If Trump faces doubt from the audience at Davos, he finds outright revulsion from other nations. In a widely-reported poll, the citizens of Germany now find Trump to be more dangerous than Kim Jong-Un, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Ayatollah Khamenei combined. While the other leaders may be a long-term threat, Trump is seen as an immediate and existential threat, capable both of starting a war with a huge array of weapons at his call and of causing economic hardship for any perceived slight. Germany is far from alone in this view of Trump; he is a villain throughout the world.
It’s not because America is “winning”, it’s because he is dishonest, mercurial and has no ethical or moral grounding.
Thunberg is a poor choice of leader for the global warming activists. Trump is a toxic one for pushing back against her. His statements will do little save rally more people to her side and present the United States as rapacious despoilers of the world. It doesn’t matter what the truth may be; this is politics, and perception is everything. With his bloodless prompter recitation of American superiority, Trump is in the process of dismantling the brakes on climate activism that have been in place for twenty-five years.