Once Again Proud Of A President

Photo Credit: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique Pineiro Courtesy of Join Chiefs of Staff

French President Emmanuel Macron, and an entourage of his top staff, are visiting the United States this week.  It’s a formal “State Visit,” and follows President Trump’s recent State Visit to France. Neither of the new presidents had been a career politician (Trump taking office in January, and Macron in May, 2017); both were also outsiders who were not expected to be elected, and both had important business careers (Trump Hotels, Inc. and Rothschild & Cie Banque).

It had been reported that during their last visit the two new presidents not only got along, but told the world afterwards that they had become close friends.  So when this week’s visit was announced, I especially looked forward to it and marked my calendar to make sure to watch it live on TV.

I was not disappointed.  Especially impressive were the military bands that provided a dramatic several minute-long drum roll, as President and Mrs. Macron arrived by car at the White House.  Then the United States Army Drum and Bugle Corps took center stage.

The couple dozen musicians in the Corps were dressed in Revolutionary War era uniforms. They marched in perfect “slow-step” across the White House lawn toward the two presidents standing together on the dais.  As they passed they suddenly changed to quick-step and began playing the historic “Yankee Doodle” on their fifes and drums.  The significance brought a tear to my eye.  The crowd on the White House lawn liked it too and responded with cheering and clapping.

President Macron smiled and nodded, obviously aware that his host remembers that when our original thirteen colonies were alone – facing the greatest power in the world – a young French aristocrat named Layette and his country came to our aid.  They sent naval forces, an army, and loaned a great deal of money to that rebellious group helping it become an independent nation.

This big enthusiasm for American posturing at international events is a new experience for me, who like many, had lost interest in such shortly after Obama’s election.  I think it began after what the Wall Street Journal called (on April 23, 2009) “Obama’s Confession Tour.”

1) “In less than 100 days, he [new president Obama] has apologized on three continents for what he views as sins of America and his predecessors.”

2) “Mr. Obama told the French (The French!) that ‘America has shown ‘arrogance,’ and been dismissive toward Europe.”

3) “In Prague Obama told our NATO treaty allies that America had a moral responsibility to act [before our enemies] on disarmament because only we had used a nuclear weapon.”

4) For his first State Visit, Obama went to Saudi Arabia, where he bowed (as would a subordinate in that culture) to the King of Saudi Arabia.  The international press took a deep breath; Obama said he was being culturally sensitive; but most Americans just felt shamed.  What a contrast to President Trump’s first state visit, which was also to the Middle East [perhaps to show there is a new sheriff in town].  During that visit a dozen Arab-Muslim countries joined him in a single event and welcomed him as an ally.  After Trump’s key-note speech the Saudi, Egyptian, and leaders of several other states made speeches thanking him for America’s promised future leadership.

5) Finally, there was Obama’s international end game.  On April 24, 2016 – six months before the election which would make someone else president – Obama visited Germany.  During a morning press conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Obama reported that (paraphrase) “There are still people that do not believe in science,” but that the United States and Germany are “allies on climate,” and “both countries have signed the climate agreement,” and “both agree that climate change is our number one challenge.”

The whole statement was total B.S. and Obama knew it. Obama had not submitted the agreement to the Congress, because he had been advised that his country’s elected representatives would not approve it.  Therefore, it was not a treaty and had zero force of law.  Obama was ending his time on the world stage, and was still misrepresenting our country.

At some point half-truths become lies, and when the lies are by a president and harm his country it borders a treason.

How refreshing to finally have a president who promotes the United States and shows respect for our key allies.  Many were certain when we voted in November 2016 that our country could do better. I think that this week is another example proving that to be true.

Jim Van Houten