It doesn't take a foreign policy expert to say that Donald Trump hasn't exactly shown a flair for international relations. In this case, though, it does take a foreigner to really put things in perspective. On Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver explains how Trump's week in diplomacy was highly problematic, even by Trump standards. And remember, this is the president who hung up on the Australian prime minister and said that Russian President Vladimir Putin wouldn't "go into Ukraine," approximately two years after Putin did, in fact, go into Ukraine.
But no matter. Now, there are bigger fish to fry.
Oliver started off his show on Sunday by recapping Trump's painfully awkward meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Trump hadn't exactly set himself up well for this meeting, once accusing Merkel of "ruining Germany" on the campaign trail. "That is a major insult," John Oliver said, "because historically, the title of 'Chancellor synonymous with ruining Germany' is pretty much taken."
After showing the news clip of Trump literally sitting and fidgeting while refusing to shake his German counterpart's hand, Oliver expressed what I think we were all feeling: "Oh, shake her hand, you weird, weird man!" The truly strange thing about the moment, though, was what Oliver pointed out next. "It is not often," Oliver said, "that you can genuinely say, 'Trump really should have touched that woman.'"
After getting through that awkwardness, though, Oliver pressed on to the more important stuff, like how Trump continues to anger some of America's biggest and most important allies. Trump and his spokespeople made ridiculous claims about British intelligence wiretapping him, and, as Oliver explains so succinctly, "He tried to pull Merkel into it with him." Merkel, as you can see from her reaction to what Trump would probably call a joke, was not having it.
At press conference w/Merkel, Trump jokes: "at least we have something in common" in that both wiretapped by Obama. Angela ain't havin it. pic.twitter.com/p7ma7KQX3I— Omar Ghabra (@omarghabra) March 17, 2017
So, in one press conference, Trump managed to anger both Germany by bringing up past allegations of wiretapping and the United Kingdom by bringing up current ones. Impressive, right? Oliver goes on to explain, however, that the allegations Trump and White House press secretary Sean Spicer have refused to back down from originated at least in part from Andrew Napolitano, a frequent guest on Fox who has also gone on record expressing conspiracy theories about 9/11. Intelligence agencies have vehemently denied the allegations, but as usual, facts don't matter for President Trump, and he defended them by saying that he had seen them on Fox.
Oliver's response to that put it into perspective nicely, though. "Using the excuse 'we saw it on television' is barely an acceptable excuse for your parents using a racial slur," he said. Your parents' racial slurs don't usually cause international disputes, though, so this one is just slightly more important. Oliver let journalist Fareed Zakharia sum it up with a quote that is pretty much the understatement of the century when it comes to Trump: "I think the president is somewhat indifferent to things that are true or false."
As you've probably sadly gotten used to, the news that Oliver has to cover on his show is troubling, to say the least. However, when the news is centers on a ridiculous and avoidable diplomatic misstep involving Oliver's country of origin, there is really no one better equipped to do it.