IF THE Chairman of a major International Company had to leave his seat at a conference to decide the future of the industry his place would be taken by his Vice-Chairman or the next Senior Director available.
For him to replace himself with one of his grown-up children would be unthinkable. The good news is that this has not happened. The bad news is that the President of the United States of America has just done exactly that at the G20 Summit, leaving his fellow Presidents gasping with disbelief. How insulting can he get?
First, he insults the other Presidents and top politicians taking part. “My daughter will look after you lot” may not have been spoken by D Trump but it is what he meant.
Second, he insults his own team from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson down. These people are chosen for their skills, experience and stature. Ivanka may be skilled, have some experience and certainly has some stature but she is not part of the G20. Insulting your colleagues like that wins you no friends.
And third, and very important, he insults his daughter. How can she possibly be pleased at being left in such a situation? She must, like the rest of us, think he is nuts.
No Need To Be Rude
The G20 is a sort of substitute for the United Nations in an area that it doesn’t do too well. It has been variously important and sometimes not so successful. it certainly attracts a lot of protests.
It fails to achieve the lofty objectives it set out to but has been relevant as a forum for expressing views — mainly concerns — about the future of the world.
Mr Trump, of course, doesn’t think the future of the world is relevant, only that America (the one he knows) is. That is no reason for being gratuitously rude.
In fact, though Mr Trump appears to be unaware of this, there is never a reason for being gratuitously rude.
I think Mr Trump’s behaviour at the G20, plus his record since he was elected are grounds for his cabinet resigning. They are going to have to make a stand sometime. These seemingly trivial insults and irresponsible quirks may not individually be grounds for resignation. The sum of them is.
They suggest a pattern of egotism that could become tactically dangerous if allowed to continue. If Trump makes a big mistake and kills many people or causes an economic crisis those who continued to support him will be as culpable as he is.
You do not become part of the President’s Cabinet without assuming major responsibilities for your boss. Defending and supporting him beyond a certain point is wrong.
That point has been reached.
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John Bittleston is the founder of Terrific Mentors.
Image: Greenpeace making a point about Donald Trump and America’s role in climate change, at the G20 Summit. Photo: Gerckens-Photo-Hamburg / Shutterstock.com