Donald Trump began his presidency with a phone call to Australia that he used to complain about a deal made by his predecessor rather than trying to advance U.S. foreign policy. He won zero concessions while alienating a staunch ally.
Observers could only hope that over time his interactions on the world stage would be shaped by America’s interests more than his interest in being petulant. But almost a year later, he is openly showing the world that same petulant face.
At around 11 p.m. Thursday, having already dominated the day’s headlines for the needless diplomatic own-goal of declaring that various foreign countries are “shitholes,” President Trump posted the following message to his Twitter account:
Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for “peanuts,” only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!
A lot of factors determine whether a president ought to take an overseas trip: whether he is needed in Washington; the diplomatic goals that he expects to accomplish; whether travel to a particular location is safe; and on and on and on. But in Trump’s telling, he isn’t canceling a visit to one of America’s closest allies for any of those reasons, or any metric tied to whether the visit would help America.