The Washington Post reports that the Trump administration has downgraded the EU ambassador to the United States. Michael Birnbaum and John Hudson view the downgrading as emblematic of President Trump’s “alliance-disrupting” behavior which, allegedly, has caused “America’s longstanding friends” to doubt “whether the U.S. would defend them in a conflict” and whether “the White House prefers democratic leaders to autocrats.”
But as we read the Post’s story, we quickly learn that the “downgrading” pertains to where diplomats are seated at dinners, the order in which they are called to pay respects at state funerals, and other such trivial matters. Some pompous EU grandee is angry that he won’t get a good enough spot in the next reception line.
Reasonably enough, he took his grievance to the Washington Post. After all, the Post needs to fill its large daily quota of anti-Trump stories.
At certain points in their report, Birnbaum and Hudson seem a little sheepish about airing the petty grievance of an offended diplomatic. There’s something of a tongue-in-cheek quality to some of the writing. But the two have a job to do, so they mostly treat the story as indicative of yet another example of Trump’s ham-handedness and insensitivity towards our allies.
But here’s the kicker. The Trump administration’s “downgrade” of the EU ambassador simply restores him to the spot in the diplomatic pecking order he held until 2016. For seven years, the Obama administration treated the EU ambassador as a second-class diplomat (or whatever).
Did this bother the Washington Post? Were there any mainstream media stories about how Obama was slighting Europe? Not that I recall.
I was also amused by this passage in the Post’s story:
No longer will the European Union be as exalted as equivalent to a country. Instead it will be back alongside the African Union, after the rest of the national ambassadors.
You mean to tell me that Obama exalted the EU over the African Union? Does the Congressional Black Caucus know about this?
If Birnbaum and Hudson were more woke, they would be offended that the EU ambassador is offended that he no longer outranks his African counterpart. I thought such Euro-centrism was outdated, if not racist.
It’s not news that Trump holds the EU in lower regard than Obama did. If EU diplomats had to sit in the back of the room during nearly all of Obama’s presidency, I don’t think much should be made of the fact that they will again have to do so under Donald Trump.