Trump Trudeau G20
Credit: The White House/Flickr

Given that Donald Trump has long boasted about his skills at tax avoidance, I suspect that there are things in his tax returns that would be politically problematic for him. People might even wonder why the Internal Revenue Service hasn’t done more to address his failure to pay his fair share. But I truly believe that the audience he’s really concerned about consists of other wealthy people who would laugh at the disparity between the riches he has always claimed to have and the reality that he’s nowhere close to being an actual billionaire.

I’ve been watching Trump since I was teenager growing up in the New York media market. It has been obvious to me that he’s driven by insecurities and resentment toward the Manhattan financial elite who have always viewed him as a mannerless fraud from the outer boroughs. He really wants their acceptance and I think he thought he’d finally get it when he won the presidency. It hasn’t worked out that way, and the only thing that has changed is that people see him now as a threat.

It’s hard to imagine anything that would strike Trump to his core more than being ridiculed by his would-be peers, and that’s why it was predictable as the rain that he’d throw a fit when he realized that he was the butt of jokes at the Queen Elizabeth’s Buckingham Palace reception on Tuesday night.

As dignitaries and world leaders milled around Buckingham Palace on Tuesday at a NATO summit reception, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron chatted in a loose circle.

Snippets of their conversation rose above the din and were captured in a short video that went viral after viewers surmised that the group appeared to be joking about President Trump’s performance earlier in the day.

Trump was particularly angry with Justin Trudeau who was captured on an audio feed sympathizing with Macron for being unexpectedly roped into a tense 40 minute press conference that was supposed to be a brief photo opportunity. Doing his best “Mean Girls” impression, Trump called Trudeau “two-faced” and suggested he was just angry about criticism that Canada doesn’t contribute enough money to NATO.

Then he did this:

President Donald Trump on Wednesday abruptly canceled a press conference that was scheduled to cap a contentious trip to London for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 70th anniversary meeting.

The presser was scheduled to come after a series of bilateral meetings with NATO members, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

“When today’s meetings are over, I will be heading back to Washington,” Trump said in a series of tweets.

“We won’t be doing a press conference at the close of NATO because we did so many over the past two days. Safe travels to all!” Trump said.

The president is obviously wounded. His feelings are hurt. And now he will seek ways to exact revenge. This is such a well established pattern with him by now that I have no trouble predicting that he will repeat it.

This behavior has never won him respect in the past and it will not work in the future.  At this point, I’m surprised that he continues to make foreign trips to Europe since they always end in humiliation.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at