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June 01, 2017

Trump's overseas trip 'highlight video' is the ultimate Rorschach test

There are two versions of President Donald Trump’s recent trip to the Middle East, Europe and a part of the Middle East that he may have mistaken for Europe.

On one hand, we have a "lamestream media" harping on curtsies, orbs, hands, more hands, papal shading and quotes from foreign leaders calling into question the perceived negative impact to long-standing relationships with allies.

On the other hand, we have a fearless leader who stares that criticism down and tells people across the Twitter globe that “we traveled the world to strengthen long-standing alliances, and to form new partnerships."

To help bridge this messaging chasm, the good people behind the White House’s cutting-edge YouTube page produced a compelling, dramatically scored, two-minute and 24-second video chronicling “President Trump’s Trip Abroad Highlights.”

“From Saudi Arabia to Israel to NATO to the G7, we made extraordinary gains on this historic trip to advance the security and prosperity of the United States, our friends and our allies,” the president says in laudatory fashion over images from the aforementioned stops. “We paved the way for a new era of cooperation among the nations of the world to defeat the common enemy of terrorism, and provide our children with a much more hopeful future.”

Fine. Those words aren’t unique to this well-produced infomercial. They come from Trump’s Memorial Day speech to the troops in Sicily.

But Sicily is overseas, and those words were delivered during his trip, so fair use principles apply or something like that.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s either, “Yes! The president’s reality is finally being shared widely,” or “Uh, the total opposite happened, not-my-president.”

This video serves as yet-another Rorschach test in the ultimate Rorschach test of a presidency. Watch it below, then play along in a little game of reality twist-a-plot compare and contrast:

What Trump Says: “We paved the way for a new era of cooperation among the nations of the world to defeat the common enemy of terrorism, and provide our children with a much more hopeful future.”

What Others Say: He made a $110 billion Saudi Arabia weapons deal that won’t spawn American jobs.

WTS: “I went to Jerusalem where I reaffirmed our unbreakable bond with the state of Israel.”

WOS: You also didn’t realize you were actually in the Middle East, amid an intelligence scandal involving that very nation.

WTS: “All children from all faiths deserve a future of hope and peace.”

WOS: You’re proposing deep cuts to education and immigration enforcement that destroys families.

WTS: “In Rome, I was inspired by the beauty, and even more inspired by my meeting with Pope Francis.”

WOS: His Holiness didn’t look happy (fine, fine, he's made that expression before and will again), and presented you with his encyclical on climate change because he was worried you were going to pull your nation out of the Paris Climate Agreement. (Can’t wait to find out what you’ll do at the 3 p.m. rose ceremony!)

WTS: “Then I traveled to two summits, first at a NATO summit in Brussels where we agreed to improve the burden sharing among members of our alliance.”

WOS: You lectured them about money. They rolled their eyes at you, going so far as to not only squeeze your hand as hard as possible, but avoid greeting you on the runway. You also shoved a world leader. This was in no way a successful first overseas impression, but an affirmation of the "ugly American" stereotype.

WTS: “Next I attended the G7. I laid out my vision for economic growth and fair trade in support of good-paying jobs and I called for much greater security and cooperation on matters of terrorism and immigration to protect our citizens.”

WOS: You also rode in a golf cart while the other world leaders were able to walk 700 yards to take a group photo to which you were late because of your transportation choices.

WTS: “We concluded a truly historic week for our country. We traveled the world to strengthen longstanding alliances and to form a new partnership among nations devoted to the task of eradicating the terrorism that plagues our planet. I am now more hopeful than ever in the possibility that nations of many faiths, many religions, and from many regions can join together in a common cause.”

WOS: “The times when we could fully rely on others are to some extent over. I experienced that in the last few days. We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands.” – German Chancellor Angela Merkel

So, there you have it, proof positive that we will interpret Trump's maiden voyage in whichever way affirms our personal politics.