Critics of President Trump say that, given his inexperience and propensity for outlandish speech and behavior, he is being graded "on a massive curve" on his first foreign trip. "The Trump brand of diplomacy has some analysts worried that the nine-day tour of allies in the Mideast and Europe might only make his troubles worse," wrote the Washington Post before the trip began.
Although the final report card is a week away, the president has shown signs he's operating even outside that generous parabola, divulging sensitive Israeli intelligence information, insulting Saudi Arabian leaders, forgetting that Israel is part of the Middle East and making a GIF-friendly spectacle of his seemingly unhappy marriage.
Today, that menu expanded to include physical violence against another head of state. Video taken at the first day of the NATO summit appears to show Trump shoving the president of Montenegro out of his way to assume a position in front of a group of politicians.
Did Trump just shove another NATO leader to be in the front of the group? pic.twitter.com/bL1r2auELd— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) May 25, 2017
Montenegro's Dusko Markovic, who was at the summit for the first time, reached to pat Trump on the back, but Trump moved forward without acknowledging him, then visibly sniffed and looked Markovic up and down.
Such primal behavior from the leader of the country that Ronald Reagan once described as "a shining city on a hill" drew a picture from the inside of a dim locker room, social media posters said.
No silly. That's just a 'locker room' shove. Nothing Trump does is offensive if you put 'locker room' in front of it. https://t.co/O92qRyvvnm— FrugalistaBlog (@frugieblog) May 25, 2017
Trump truly taking "America First" to heart - willing to literally push aside world leaders to stand in front. https://t.co/L4UEcZExjK— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) May 25, 2017
@RyanTheBay This represents him and his actions on a daily basis. It's not overreacting. He has no respect— Mike Costello (@_mikecostello) May 25, 2017
"Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling was moved to take time out from her writings about extreme villainy to comment.
You tiny, tiny, tiny little man.— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 25, 2017
When asked about the shove, White House press secretary Sean Spicer — who is more frequently substituting obliviousness for the non-denial denial — said, "I haven't seen the video."
As a candidate, Trump showed opposition to NATO, if not going quite this far, calling it "obsolete." After taking office, he said, "NATO is no longer obsolete."
But today, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO indicated that the content of Trump's remarks to the alliance was not exactly supportive.
Tweetstorm from the former U.S. Ambassador NATO on Trump's visit to Brussels. Worth a read. pic.twitter.com/0WN0Vz6HhM— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 25, 2017