Opinion

Michael A. Cohen

The Homer Simpson theory of international affairs

President Donald Trump arrives for a news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the East Room at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, April 12, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
President Trump arrives for a news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Every week President Trump says things that are misleading, dishonest, stunningly ignorant, delusional, or downright incoherent. Sometimes he does all five at the same time. Here’s a look back at some of the terrible things Trump said this week.

“We had finished dinner. We’re now having dessert. And we had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen and President Xi was enjoying it.”

AP Photo/David J. Phillip
Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and Coast Guard officer Matthew Babot cut the cake at the “Salute To Our Armed Services” Inaugural Ball.

Much has been made of Trump’s fixation on the dessert he shared with Chinese President Xi Jinping at their summit last week, but really the most insane part of this exchange came a few moments later.

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TRUMP: “So what happens is I said we’ve just launched 59 missiles heading to Iraq and I wanted you to know this. And he was eating his cake. And he was silent.”

BARTIROMO: (INAUDIBLE) “. . . to Syria?”

That’s right, the president of the United States remembered what he and President Xi were eating when he ordered this missile strike — just not the country he ordered it against.

There were plenty of memorable moments in Trump’s meeting with Xi.

According to Trump he told the Chinese president that he thought Beijing “could easily take care of the North Korea threat” at which point Xi gave the president a quick tutorial on Chinese-Korean relations.

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“After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy,” Trump recounted. “I felt pretty strongly that they had a tremendous power” over North Korea, he said. “But it’s not what you would think.”

It’s hard to know what is the most stupefying thing about this. Is it that Trump thought North Korea was “easy” and after 10 minutes of explanation realized he had that wrong? Is it that Trump is apparently as impressionable as a kindergartner? Is it that Trump actually spent 10 minutes patiently listening to someone else talk? I’ll go with: the man elected president of the United States thought this anecdote would make him appear smart.

Whatever the answer, we do know one thing: Trump’s remains a cripplingly insecure man-child.

“I have a very, very good meeting with President Xi of China. I really liked him. We had a great chemistry, I think. I mean at least I had a great chemistry — maybe he didn’t like me, but I think he liked me.”

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On Obamacare, Trump was in rare form this week:

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ObamaCare is a total mess.

“ObamaCare is a disaster. It’s really gone. Essentially, it’s gone.”

“If ObamaCare isn’t bailed out almost on a monthly basis, it fails. It immediately fails.”

None of this is remotely true, but Trump outdid all of it in an interview with the Wall Street Journal: “Obamacare is dead next month if it doesn’t get that money,” Trump said. “I haven’t made my viewpoint clear yet. I don’t want people to get hurt . . . What I think should happen and will happen is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating.”

Trump, in his indomitable “this incoherent word salad makes perfect sense inside my head” style, is referring to a pending court case regarding reimbursements to insurance companies for subsidies that are given to their poorest customers. And what Trump is, in effect, saying here is that he will try to punish those customers in order to get leverage in health care negotiations with Democrats. Putting aside the monstrous cruelty of such a move, stating this publicly is not exactly the most brilliant negotiating tactic.

On Russia, one got a full glimpse this week of the highs and lows of our commander-in-chief: “We may be at an all-time low in terms of relationship with Russia.’’

As if high school history teachers don’t have enough on their plates these days. But don’t fret because the next day Trump tweeted this:

Welcome to the Homer Simpson theory of international affairs — hide under a pile of coats and hope that somehow everything will work out.

In other news, scientists have confirmed that the scream heard emanating from the New York suburbs the other day was a result of this Trump statement: “Don’t forget, when Jim Comey came out, he saved Hillary Clinton. People don’t realize that . . . Director Comey was very, very good to Hillary Clinton, that I can tell you. If he weren’t, she would be, right now, going to trial.’’

This wasn’t the only time Trump dabbled in “false charges of criminality.”

“When you look at Susan Rice and what’s going on, and so many people are coming up to me and apologizing now. They’re saying you know, you were right when you said that.”

Literally, no one is saying that. In fact, the exact opposite is being said — that there is no evidence any Obama administration did anything wrong. But this is what happens when news stories don’t get covered on Fox and Friends.

This week, the president also bragged about his ability to keep his word:

As if he is intent on trolling the country, Trump has over the past couple of days, flip-flopped on the following campaign statements. Trump now says: NATO is “no longer obsolete;” China is not a “currency manipulator;” he would consider re-appointing Janet Yellen as head of the Federal Reserve; he supports the Export-Import Bank; he doesn’t know Vladimir Putin.

This comes on the heels of not throwing Hillary Clinton in jail, not getting involved in Syria, not getting Mexico to pay for the wall, not repealing Obamacare, not tearing up the Iran nuclear deal, not re-negotiating NAFTA and, at least to date, not making America great again. But hey, it’s not all bad: Trump is as Panglossian as ever about his young administration: “I don’t think that there is a presidential period of time in the first 100 days where anyone has done nearly what we’ve been able to do.”

It’s almost enough to make you laugh . . . and then you remember there are still three years, six months and 20 days until Election Day 2020.

Michael A. Cohen’s column appears regularly in the Globe. Follow him on Twitter @speechboy71.