Yoav Baram – Here they are, the dynamic duo of 2017
Beavis and Butthead, Ren and Stimpy, Pinky and the brain, Cheech and Chong, Rick and Morty, Bert and Ernie, Batman and Robin, Solo and Chewbacca, Simon and Garfunkel, Wayne and Garth, Aria and The mountain, Starsky and Hutch, Itchy and Scratchy, Milly Vanilly. How long have we waited for the next duo to arrive and how fun it is to finally see it in action. The expectations were high, the critics were skeptic, the cynics predicted catastrophe and everyone waited for the embarrassing hand shake – here they are everyone – Bibi and Trump, Trump and Bibi.
27 minute press conference, in which Trump buried his head in the official statement in front of him, at least until the questions segment, while Bibi did what Bibi does best – spoke articulately and in flawless English – that made Trump sound like a west European immigrant. All in All it seems the more his presidency progresses – Trump appears to be more restrained publicly, like a reluctant puppy who peed one too many times on your rug, and went through an accelerated training to become (white) house broken. I wouldn’t want to be the Cesar Millan who trained him.
Of course the press conference was an eager attempt to show how well-coordinated Israel and the U.S are, but obvious differences appeared nonetheless – such as Trump’s polite request from Bibi to ease down on the settlements’, or more precisely: “I’d like to see you hold back on the settlements a little bit”. I wasn’t aware that a request to seize buildings in the settlements could sound so much like a dietary recommendation – ‘hold back on those carbs would you Bibi?’
In regarding a future Israeli-Palestinian agreement Trump said: “…both sides will have to make compromises, you know that right?” and then turned to Bibi like a polite mommy asking her children nicely to share their toys instead of killing each other.
One embarrassing point came when Trump finished answering a reporter’s question, and in a quick and abrupt transition asked Sarah Netanyahu to stand up only to compliment her for “being so lovely” to Melania Trump. Even if we put aside for a minute the assumption that Trump doesn’t usually do that with the wives of other leaders, it makes one wonder who the hell bothered to put it inside the president’s head how critical it is to thank the Prime minister’s wife in the middle of a press conference. I guess the next stage would be thanking the presidential dog or ferret.
Later on Odi Segal from Israeli channel 2 news asked Trump about the 2 states solution. Trump’s reply couldn’t be more…well Trumpy: “I’m very happy with what both parties like…If Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with what they like the best”.
Wow…First of all no one has ever before used the word “happy” so many times in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and this comes from no other than Trump who often prefers the use of the term “sad” much more. I guess Trump deserves a good word for being so positive and optimistic. I mean it’s probably not easy to discuss such a complicated matter when you’ve only been briefed about it 24 minutes before – and even that was on a power point presentation that included a maximum of 5 bullets and as many visual aids as possible – such as a map that shows where the hell in the world Israel is located.
But seriously – either Trump is a super flexible negotiator, or that this was the most ambivalent answer ever heard.
It’s a bit like being asked “what do you prefer? Colonoscopy or enema?” And your answer will be: “They both sound great” followed by a hearty smile. But no, you can’t say that ‘they both sound great’, they’re both fundamentally different and a serious medical procedure. You can’t answer “I’m happy with both solutions” because the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most complicated issues going on for at least 70 years. Of course there’s another option – Trump simply has no idea what he’s talking about. Beyond that – Trump’s ability to express himself – or indeed the lack of it – is emphasized tenfold when put side by side against the truly impressive speech capabilities of Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Trump also evaded the follow-up question regarding the moving of the U.S embassy to Jerusalem, replying: “I’d love to see that happen. We’re looking at it very, very strongly. We’re looking at it with great care – great care, believe me. And we’ll see what happens. Okay?”
I can imagine how reassuring it was for Bibi to hear Trump say ‘I’d love to see that happen’ and then finishes the sentence with ‘let’s see what happens’. But anyway Bibi doesn’t seem too troubled. If anything, he looked as calm and self-assured as he can be. As if he doesn’t have at least two ongoing police investigations against him and as if he won’t have to reluctantly give up the office of communications in the upcoming week (due to conflict of interest). It seems Bibi is flourishing in his natural environment – behind a podium and standing next to a president who uses the words ‘Islamic Terror’ and ‘Iran’ almost as often as he does.
For almost half an hour Trump is uttering hollow and ambivalent words, without anyone really knowing what he means. Or as a reporter covering Trump described best in a CNN interview:
“This is what makes Trump so hard to cover, what does it mean when he says words?”
If you ask me this is the quote of the year right there (2:29 on the John Oliver show).
And moving on to a quick count of Trump’s favorite expressions in the press conference:
Very very unfair – 3
Fake media – 1
Number of times I thought Trump was Alec Baldwin or another impersonation of himself – 7
Bibi’s word count:
Iran – 37
Destroy – 29
Number of times I thought Bibi was climaxing – 3
To sum up: It’s Bibi and Trump, Trump and Bibi – what a terrific duo. I think we’re looking at the best show aired on TV right now period. The first episode was so entertaining I just can’t wait to binge-watch the entire season. I haven’t been that excited since there were rumors about the return of another notorious duo – Beavis and Butthead.