Report: EU President Used Cue Cards in Talks With Trump

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

There's actually a far more important and consequential detail included in this report from the Wall Street Journal, but if we can't have a laugh now and then we risk losing their mounds, so let's get to it.

The Journal reports that during his meeting with Trump on Tuesday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker communicated with Trump using cue cards and openly implied that Trump is an idiot.

“If you want to be stupid,” he told Mr. Trump, “I can be stupid, as well.”

Backing up his points, Mr. Juncker flipped through more than a dozen colorful cue cards with simplified explainers, the senior EU official said. Each card had at most three figures about a specific topic, such as trade in cars or standards for medical devices.

We knew this wasn’t an academic seminar,” the EU official said. “It had to be very simple.”

This tells me that Juncker gives exactly zero fucks about appealing to Trump's ego or even treating him like an equal. Trump isn't an equal.

Now, we have to talk about the more serious news.

The pattern we've seen over the past six months in which one of Trump's advisers tries to make a deal only to be undercut by another adviser is apparently continuing to play out just as we thought it would.

Trump didn't announce a real deal with Jean-Claude Juncker, only that he had agreed to talk about making a possible deal, but even that looks shaky at the moment.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Trump's top trade representative Robert Lighthizer is having none of it.

[Larry Kudlow] had met with a member of Mr. Juncker’s team the previous evening and hinted at a possible deal over Diet Cokes at a D.C. hotel.

Still, when EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Wednesday morning, odds of an agreement looked remote. Mr. Lighthizer seemed unaware of the overture made by Mr. Kudlow the night before and insisted on issues that were a no-go for the Europeans, such as opening the entire agricultural sector to U.S. firms, the EU official said.

Mr. Kudlow seemed to “have the ear of the president,” the EU official said.

Kudlow does not have Trump's ear, but Lighthizer does.

The EU has tentatively agreed to buy more American soybeans, but that's not a "deal." It was going to happen anyway. American farmers have already pivoted toward exporting soybeans to Europe because China has stopped buying them in retaliation for Trump's tariffs, but Europe will never buy as much as China previously did.

Juncker knows that, but Trump almost certainly doesn't. Trump is 10 steps behind virtually any other world leader he talks to.

  • La Befana

    Colored cards, what no hand puppets? Makes me think that the impression of Eric eating Play-doh spaghetti on SNL wasn’t Erik.

  • muselet

    Jean-Claude Junker has the right approach: treat Donald Trump like a toodler and you won’t go wrong.

    Doris Kearns Goodwin coined the term “team of rivals” to describe Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet, a disparate lot at the best of times. May I suggest “team of dullards” to describe Donald Trump’s cabinet and advisers?


  • Aynwrong

    His base is getting shafted and they couldn’t care less. Unless an economic cataclysm the likes of Sept 08 takes place in just as dramatic a fashion they’ll just keep on keeping on (and maybe even then).

    It probably doesn’t matter as much as it is infuriating but the media still maniacally obsesses over the thoughts, values, trials & tribulations and generally every utterance of white working class Trump voters like they’re some newly discovered extraterrestrial species without ever admitting the obvious. They’re morons. They fucked up. Again. They’re too God damned stubborn to admit it.

    • muselet

      A commenter at, I think it was, Talking Points Memo called those endless deep dives into the minds of Trump voters “Celtus safaris.”