Donald Trump made a series of odd claims during a joint news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda, but this excerpt seemed especially odd.
“The European Union wouldn’t talk to us. They wouldn’t talk to President Obama. Wouldn’t even talk to him.”
In context, the American president seemed to be referring to trade, but if so, Trump is badly confused. As the Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale explained, the EU engaged in full-scale trade negotiations for several years with Obama.
And while “Trump lies about his predecessor” isn’t exactly an unfamiliar story, this is a very specific kind of lie, which Trump seems to turn to with unsettling frequency.
Last week, for example, talking to reporters on Air Force One, the Republican said, “Don’t forget – Japan would not deal with Obama. He wouldn’t deal with President Obama. They wouldn’t deal. They said, ‘No, we’re not going to talk trade.’ Me? They’re calling up.”
Again, this isn’t even close to being true. The Trans-Pacific Partnership included a variety of countries, but Japanese officials and the Obama administration were at the heart of the talks that led to the agreement (which Trump rejected despite not understanding it).
Also last week, Trump said, in reference to diplomacy with North Korean officials, “Obama couldn’t meet, they wouldn’t see him.”
Reality points in the exact opposite direction: North Korea was eager, if not desperate, to meet with every recent American president, including Obama, but each U.S. leader had the good sense not to reward Pyongyang in exchange for nothing. Only Trump was willing to give up major diplomatic concessions without meaningful concessions from the rogue dictatorship.
The common thread is Trump’s strange insistence that he’s succeeding where Obama failed – though this is plainly ridiculous because, in each of the examples Trump cites, his claims are the opposite of the truth.
Trump seems absolutely convinced that Obama either wouldn’t talk to our international friends or foes, or they wouldn’t talk to him. It’s fallen to Trump, in his mind, to break through the silence and have the negotiations that his predecessor wouldn’t or couldn’t engage in.
Trump’s preoccupation with Obama can get a little creepy, but this is just bizarre.