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Trump, the caricature of the ugly American, demeans us all

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President Trump, in the Rose Garden announcing U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate-change agreement, posed a rhetorical question:

“At what point does America get demeaned?”

That point, Mr. President, is now.

For the last fortnight, Trump has presented himself to the world as the caricature of the ugly American: loud, boorish and ill-informed. For nine days in Europe and the Middle East, Trump shoved, hectored and lectured, betraying confidences and demonstrating an ignorance of world affairs.

The French president applied a crushing grip to Trump’s tiny hands to show that he wouldn’t be bullied, and the German chancellor suggested that Europe may need to go it alone after 70 years, without its suddenly flaky ally. The pope gently conveyed disdain.

Trump would have been humiliated if he were capable of feeling shame, but on some level even he must have known he was being dismissed, for he responded as he does when ridiculed — with still more cartoonish bluster.

The withdrawal from the world climate accord itself wasn’t terribly surprising, but the way he did it was a thumb in the eye to the rest of humanity. Trump didn’t merely state a principled disagreement. He turned the Rose Garden, where Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat once joined hands, into a setting for a political rally, and he delivered a campaign speech against the world.

“The Paris agreement handicaps the United States economy in order to win praise from the very foreign capitals and global activists that have long sought to gain wealth at our country’s expense,” he charged.

“The same nations asking us to stay in the........

© Washington Post