It was supposed to be a speech on tax reform. It’s a mystery how it derailed to mocking Asian leaders.
President Donald Trump traveled to Missouri Wednesday to deliver a much-awaited speech about tax reforms, yet somehow, it turned into an attack on his Asian allies. The president accused the Asian countries — falling short of actually naming any one of them — of not participating towards their own national defense.
Trump started his ridiculous rant by telling the audience his trip to Asia was a “tremendous success.” Then he started complaining about how the U.S. military was defending some of the prosperous countries in the region, which apparently do not warrant U.S. protection.
“I say why are we defending them? We love them. I won’t mention names. But there are a lot of them. We love them, they’re wealthy. It’s going to change, folks. We’re going to defend them but they’re going to treat us fairly and they’re going to pay for their defense,” Trump said. “Does that make sense?”
“When I was in Asia, I spoke to a couple of the countries about it and they looked like this,” Trump added, doing a ridiculous mime while shaking his head up and down. “You know what this is? Hmm-hmm. That means they know they’re getting away with murder and they got to start helping us out. OK?”
As usual, Trump does not know what he’s talking about, as the U.S. military is not providing defense to Asian countries free of charge. It’s called an alliance for a reason.
By keeping his bases in the region, the U.S. has a stronghold in Asia, which helps counter the influence of China. It is critical as 30 percent of global maritime trade ($5.3 trillion) runs through the South China Sea. The United States is competing with China to be the leader in that fast-growing market and currently benefits $1.2 trillion in trade.
U.S. also support allies against North Korea — which incidentally has threatened multiple times to bomb the U.S. and has recently reportedly succeeded in creating a ballistic missile which can carry a nuclear device all the way to the country.
Japan covers 75 percent of basing cost of U.S. there, which is worth $4.4 billion, while South Korea covers 40 percent of the basing cost, worth $843 million annually. The U.S. also gets basing rights in Singapore, improving the region’s friendship with the U.S. and thereby better able to unify against China.
It also gets over $194 billion in trade with Japan, the fifth-largest U.S. trading partner and $115 billion in trade with South Korea, the sixth-largest U.S. trading partner.
Despite this, Trump has never shied from mocking his critical Asian allies.
During a speech in Iowa in August 2015, Trump used broken English to impersonate Asian dealmakers.
“When these people walk into the room, they don’t say, ‘Oh hello, how’s the weather? It’s so beautiful outside. How are the Yankees doing? They’re doing wonderful, that’s great,” Trump said. “They say, ‘We want deal!’”
Trump in Missouri has got me confused, do you admire Asia (yes he says Asia as if its one nation) for their "tax system", or are they stealing from us via defense. How can someone sound so uniformed and offensive at the same time?— Jen (@EmpathyCounts) November 29, 2017
I'm watching Trump's speech in Missouri about taxes, I think?...Wait, Rocket Man? Jewelry?...Insulting allies in Asia?...Helping the rich...— Operative_X (@OperativeXRay) November 29, 2017
You know what? This whole FUCKING THING CALLED THE PRESIDENCY IS A JOKE TO HIM - WE'RE ALL FUCKED!! I...sorry...just...the man is nuts.
TRUMP praises Ryan, Brady, Scalise & others on their work on tax. Then talks about his Asia trip— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) November 16, 2017
It’s a pretty bad idea to alienate U.S.’ Asian allies — particularly since Trump makes his own Trump brand ties over there.
Thumbnail Credits: REUTERS/Jorge Silva