Accuracy in Media

As world leaders departed the beaches of Normandy after this week’s commemoration of the 75h anniversary of D-Day, the Washington Post took aim at President Trump – not for his remarks or for any incident that occurred but on his choice of clothing, traveling companions and relationships with European leaders.

In “‘These boys were on a holiday’: Trump family members promote themselves, and businesses, on European trip,” David Nakamura, Toluse Olorunnipa and Amanda Ferguson implied the president had taken advantage of taxpayers by bringing along his four adult children.

It opened with the brothers Trump going on what the paper called “an impromptu pub crawl” in Doonbeg, Ireland. “’It’s exciting when Trump comes into town, isn’t it?’” the paper quoted Eric Trump as saying.

“Not just Trump, but Trumps – decidedly plural,” the Post wrote.

“If the display sought to project the Trumps as global goodwill ambassadors for the United States, it also has raised questions given the president’s refusal to draw strict boundaries between his official duties and his private business.”

Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, work in the administration. The sons run the Trump organization’s real estate holdings – one of which is the golf course where they are staying.

“The question of who is paying for the family members’ participation – and whether American taxpayers will be on the hook – has emerged as an unresolved subplot,” the Post wrote without evidence.

“During the trip, the Trump children have documented their exploits in Instagram posts – touring Buckingham Palace! Observing the aerial flyover in Normandy! Pouring pints behind the bar in Doonbeg! – in a modern-day slideshow of “wish-you-were-here!” family vacation moments for the public back home,” the Post wrote. “At times, the images appeared discordant with the aims of a U.S. government delegation representing the nation’s geostrategic interests.”

Another story, “Trump’s catastrophic fashion choices in England were not just a sign of bad taste,” took issue with his tuxedo.

“For any man to bungle white-tie dress – something so regimented, so steeped in tradition, so well-documented – he must be a man who doesn’t bother with the details, who doesn’t avail himself of ready expertise, who refuses to be a student of history or even of Google,” the Post wrote.

His “iteration of white tie at the state banquet at Buckingham Place was, in a word, a mess,” the Post wrote. “The waistcoat was too long and too tight. The tailcoat did not fit. The trousers were voluminous. And the man himself looked so ill at ease in the whole unfortunate kit that his awkwardness loomed over him like Pig Pen’s dust cloud.”

A third story – “’Don’t poke the bear’: European leaders refine their approach to Trump,” suggested the week “came off if not without a hitch then at least without a calamity” both because the president “more or less muted his own megaphone” and, more importantly, because other leaders had learned that the way to avoid ugly incidents is to “avoid confronting him unless utterly necessary while keeping expectations low that he can be swayed to compromise over any disagreements.”

European leaders “kept the three-country trip mostly to parades and pageantry,” the Post wrote, “rather than view the America president’s arrival in Europe for D-Day commemorations as an opportunity to engage in policy debates.”

This, the Post wrote, quoting Brian Klaas, a frequently cited anti-Trump global politics professor at University College London saying European leaders are taking a “’wait-and-see approach’ with the 2020 presidential election looming. ‘Don’t poke the bear and hope there’s going to be a change in leadership,’ he said.”

The Post gave Trump credit because he “did not insult or embarrass outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May, as he had last year, or commit any major faux pas during his interactions with Queen Elizabeth II, whom he praised as a ‘great woman.’”

Throughout, the Post reported, “European leaders who had once tiptoed around the mercurial nationalist and his ‘America First’ agenda, or were thrown by his outbursts and insults, were matter-of-fact and friendly.”

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