If you want to have a good gauge for how badly the US under the Trump administration is perceived around the globe, look no further than the Munich security conference this weekend.
Mike Pence's speech clunked like the dead weight he is. The reception was cold.
Contrast that to the warmth by which German chancellor Angela Merkel was received. Sure, she had a home court advantage. But she also said things that ...wait for it...made sense. What a change from what we had to endure in the Rose Garden on Friday.
In Merkel’s speech, punctuated by warm applause largely absent from Pence’s address, the outgoing chancellor effectively challenged Trump’s world vision with a practical, point-by-point rebuttal of nationalist isolationism.
She revealed that Germany is shocked when it hears the US administration describe German BMWs as a threat to US national security, pointing out the largest BMW car plant was not in Bavaria, but South Carolina, supplying cars to China. “We are proud of our cars and we are allowed to be that. Frankly, if you have a problem, if you have a headache, it is better to come and talk about it,” she said.
The US Department of Commerce is due to decide shortly if tariffs should be imposed on German cars.
The comment drew wide applause from the audience. But look at the end of the video at one person who wasn't so thrilled: First Daughter Ivanka Trump.
It didn't get better for Ivanka. Merkel continued, systematically addressing all sorts of the crazy Trumpian nationalistic talking points: the lack of wisdom of the Syrian withdrawal; cancelling the INF Treaty; and the importance of NATO. She got a standing ovation. (Take that, Mike Pence!)