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What will Donald Trump be today?
What will Donald Trump be today?
Stuart Richardson

-OpEd-

PARIS — Donald Trump's task on Tuesday should have been simple enough. Traveling to the storm-ravaged island of Puerto Rico, the American president was supposed to offer some comforting words, distribute emergency supplies, and commit the federal government to rebuild the U.S. territory as quickly as possible.

But rather than disaster relief, Trump was just a disaster. Instead of rehabilitating his image — after a series of insensitive tweets this past weekend aimed at a Puerto Rican mayor and two weeks of stoking racial tension over the national anthem at football games — he once again showed the world that he is unfit for office.

This, of course, also comes as the country is reeling from the worst mass shooting in modern American history on Sunday night. Hitting the right notes on that, likewise, was not in the offing. While departing the White House on his way to San Juan, he called the massacre in Las Vegas, which left 59 concert-goers dead, a "miracle," apparently as a way to praise local police efforts.

But it was in Puerto Rico where the "miscommunicator-in-chief" was in rare form. He chided the devastated island territory for throwing "our budget a little out of whack." (Needless to say, his cheeky joke didn't land.) He quickly followed up by telling the gathered crowd and media cameras that despite the toll — "what is your death count now? 16? 17?" (now up to 34) — that Hurricane Maria was not a "real" catastrophe like Hurricane Katrina. He then turned a photo op into a practice session of lazy jump shots with rolls of paper towel.

The president's comportment in Puerto Rico reveals a man seemingly bored — and quite possibly annoyed — by his duties as the Commander-in-Chief. He offered neither empathy nor reassurance. Perhaps he never intended to.

Leading a nation in these troubled times means that Trump has a somewhat similar job to do Wednesday in Las Vegas. Will he manage to comfort bereaved family members? Will he comfort a city in mourning? Can he find the right words? Will he try again to play politics in the wrong setting? Watching each stop on this trainwreck of a presidency is turning into a kind of grim parlor game: What will he be today, asshole or idiot?

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Geopolitics

Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar in June 2022 in Cairo

Beesan Kassab, Daniel O'Connell, Ehsan Salah, Hazem Tharwat and Najih Dawoud

For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

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