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On Sunday, November 12, 2017, President Donald Trump left Vietnam for the Philippines.

The ASEAN summit in Manila, including a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, was Trump’s final event prior to his return to Washington DC.

Mrs Duterte gave President Trump a warm welcome. Duterte is characteristically less expressive:

This video shows the reception going on while every attendee was personally welcomed and had a photo op with the Dutertes.

Later, a group photo was taken:

The men are wearing barongs, the traditional Philippine shirts for men. Many of the women — see the lady on the right — are wearing a terno dress or jacket. The pointy shoulders are traditional for Philippine women.

Toasts were made. Trump was seated next to Duterte:

A lavish dinner followed. Trump, apparently, asked Duterte to sing:

The Conservative Treehouse has a good post on the importance of ASEAN and Trump’s objectives:

Those who have walked in the deep weeds of geopolitical strategy know the emphasis the Trump administration has placed on ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) as a counter-balance (control leverage) to the Chinese trade and military expansion.

The ongoing trade and security relationship between the U.S. and India, as well as other regional partners, is a large part of the overarching dynamic. The ASEAN Summit in Manila[,] Philippines is an opportunity for President Trump to expand the conversations; enter into deeper discussions surrounding the terms of partnership; and deepen commitments toward larger U.S. international objectives.

The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region including India, comprises a combined population of 1.85 billion people, one-fourth of the global population.

Here is a graphic of all the attendees:

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was delighted to renew his friendship with President Trump:

NDTV reported:

Prime Minister Modi is likely to reassert India’s push to create a global approach to deal with terrorism. He will also pitch steps to boost regional trade. One of the more significant meetings will be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with US President Donald Trump.

India Today has more on the geopolitical situation in Asia and with the Trump administration.

Here is a photo from the gala dinner that night. Stephen Miller, adviser and speechwriter, is on the left (Trump’s personal assistant John McEntee is next to him, followed by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders). On the right are General HR McMaster and Communications Director Hope Hicks:

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Manila, violent anti-Trump protests broke out. Sky News Australia reported:

Hundreds of leftist activists, farmers and students have burned an effigy of US President Donald Trump in the shape of a swastika after clashes with anti-riot police in Manila left at least 16 people injured.

Police used water cannons on the demonstrators as they marched along Taft Avenue, about 6 kilometres away from the venue of the leaders summit of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Six of the 16 injured were police officers.

The ASEAN summit opened on Monday, November 13 with a welcome ceremony, group photo and customary group handshake:

Here is a video of the photo op:

Modi was delighted with the opening ceremony’s entertainment:

This was Trump’s schedule for the rest of the day (emphases in the original):

10:15am / 9:15pm THE PRESIDENT participates in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia – Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Manila, Philippines. [Duration 1 hr]

11:50am / 10:50pm THE PRESIDENT participates in a bilateral meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines – Philippine International Convention Center, Manila, Philippines (Host of ASEAN) [Duration 1 hr]

12:55pm / 11:55pm THE PRESIDENT attends the 5th U.S.-ASEAN Summit – Philippine International Convention Center, Manila, Philippines.

3:30pm / 2:30pm THE PRESIDENT participates in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India – Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Manila, Philippines.

5:00pm / 4:00am THE PRESIDENT participates in an embassy meet and greet, Manila, Philippines.

In a historic move, representatives from the US State Department met with officials from India’s Ministry of External Affairs, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This was the first time these countries had met since 2007. The time gap was because of objections from the Chinese and Obama.

Part of the State Department’s announcement reads as follows:

The officials examined ways to achieve common goals and address common challenges in the region, such as: upholding the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific, including freedom of navigation and overflight, respect for international law, and the peaceful resolution of disputes; increasing connectivity consistent with international law and standards, based on prudent financing; coordinating on counterterrorism and maritime security efforts in the Indo-Pacific; and further cooperating to curtail the DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs and unlawful acts. The quadrilateral partners committed to deepening cooperation, which rests on a foundation of shared democratic values and principles, and to continue discussions to further strengthen the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region.

Trump included Japan’s Shinzo Abe in his meeting with Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull:

The three leaders met with the press. An excerpt from the transcript follows (emphases mine):

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. It’s great to be with Prime Minister Turnbull and Prime Minister Abe of Australia and of Japan. You know them well; I know them well.

We’ve had many meetings. We’re having another one right now, primarily focused on trade, North Korea, other subjects. But we’re very far along. The dialogue has been very good, I think, for all countries. And we look forward to the continuation of that dialogue.

Mr. Prime Minister, would you like to say something?

PRIME MINISTER TURNBULL: Thank you, Mr. President. It is great to be with you and Prime Minister Abe. We’re working very closely together. We’ve got the same values and the same focus on ensuring that the North Korean regime comes to its senses and stops its reckless provocation and threats of conflict in our region.

Peace and stability have underpinned the prosperity of billions of people over many decades, and we’re going to work together to ensure we maintain it.

PRIME MINISTER ABE: (As interpreted.) So for three of us, the immediate challenge is the issue of North Korea. And also, three very close partners with each other — Japan, the United States, and Australia — share fundamental values, as well as strategic interest.

So I do hope that we are going to have a meaningful discussion, particularly on the issue of North Korea so as to ensure regional peace and stability.

And also, I think the key for us is to ensure very close trilateral cooperation so as to bring peace and stability on the ground. So I do look forward to having a very productive discussion with the two leaders.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: In addition, a lot of things are happening on trade. And I’ll be announcing pretty much what happened here, and also with other meetings, including China and South Korea and lots of other places. We’ll be announcing that, for the most part, in a statement. I’ll make it from the White House, as opposed to from here. We’ll probably do that on Wednesday …

Sky News Australia reported that Turnbull is beset by domestic problems but is intent on working to resolve the dangerous situation with North Korea and also terrorism:

‘These are dangerous times that we live in our region,’ Mr Turnbull told reporters in Manila, adding it was his job to keep Australians safe.

‘The threats to our peace and stability are greater than they have been for many many years.’

Turnbull understands the strategy for North Korea:

Trump met with Duterte. Beforehand, Duterte made a brief announcement to the media, absent at that point:

Duterte: “We will be discussing matters that are of interest to both the Philippines and…with you around, guys, you are the spies.”
“Hah, hah, hah,” Trump said laughing.
“You are,” Duterte repeated.
[Duterte’s reference was to “spies” (i.e. the media), not “spice.”]

Once the media showed up, Duterte wanted them gone:

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: (In progress.) But on the whole, I think I have so many things to say about (inaudible). I will just summarize (inaudible).

We are your ally. We are an important ally. (Inaudible.)

And I will request everybody to — after you’ve taken the shots, with the best angles that you would like — kindly go out.

I cannot discuss the things that they want to say. You may want to make an — just a statement so that the media is going to have something to go back home.

Trump picked up on the ‘spies’ joke:

I will say this: The media was a little bit late, and you actually missed the best part of the President’s statement. (Laughter.) I think he should make it again, but it was good.

But we’ve had a great relationship. This has been very successful. We have many meetings today with many other leaders. And the ASEAN conference has been handled beautifully by the President in the Philippines and your representatives. And I’ve really enjoyed being here …

But we very much appreciate the great treatment you’ve given us

Then:

Later, Trump addressed ASEAN (General HR McMaster is on the left and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the right):

The full transcript is here. Excerpts follow. Notice how Trump refers to the region not as Asia-Pacific but as Indo-Pacific:

PRESIDENT TRUMP: President Duterte, distinguished leaders, friends and partners: I’m honored to represent the United States of America at this U.S.-ASEAN Commemorative Summit. We gather today at a time of great promise and great challenge.

I speak to you on behalf of 350 million Americans with a message of friendship and partnership. I’m here to advance peace, to promote security, and to work with you to achieve a truly free and open Indo-Pacific, where we are proud and we have sovereign nations, and we thrive, and everybody wants to prosper.

This year we mark 40 years of friendship and cooperation between the United States and this organization. It’s a long time. I also want to congratulate ASEAN on 50 years of promoting peace and prosperity and stability in Southeast Asia and in the broader Indo-Pacific region.

Rodrigo, I would like to commend you on your success as ASEAN chair at this very critical moment in time and in the association’s history — such an important event. And I want to thank you for your incredible hospitality …

I also want to thank Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia for the excellent job you’ve done as coordinator, and I appreciate it very much. I really appreciate it. You have coordinated so well with us …

The United States remains committed to ASEAN’s central role as a regional forum for total cooperation. This diplomatic partnership advances the security and prosperity of the American people and the people of all Indo-Pacific nations

So we want our partners in the region to be strong, independent, and prosperous, in control of their own destinies, and satellites to no one. These are the principles behind our vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.

So again, I wish you all the best of luck. It’s an honor to be here. And, Rodrigo, thank you very much for the way you treated all of us. Thank you. (Applause.)

Afterwards, Trump met with Narendra Modi:

Then it was time to visit the US Embassy:

That evening, Trump had dinner with Malcolm Turnbull.

Afterwards:

On Tuesday, Trump was scheduled to attend more ASEAN sessions, however, as they were running late, he asked Rex Tillerson to attend the plenary session in the afternoon on his behalf. During his brief conversation with the media on the way home, Trump told the press that he was able to make his closing remarks at lunch.

It was time to return to Washington. Air Force One made a refueling stop at Hickam in Hawaii:

Thanks to a favourable jet stream, he arrived at the White House two hours earlier than expected Tuesday night. The tarmac at Joint Base Andrews, oddly, was unlit.

A short time later:

Before leaving the Philippines, Trump expressed his delight with the hospitality he received:

Later on, social media director Dan Scavino received this anime of Ivanka:

Once back at the White House, Trump tweeted:

It is a pity that Western media did not cover those 12 days better. They are historic. Trump has built solid relationships among the principal players: Abe, Xi and Modi. He also emphasised national sovereignty, which one hopes will be a game-changer for the region.

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On Friday, November 10, 2017, President Trump left China for Vietnam. First Lady Melania Trump remained in China for another day:

Mrs Trump visited Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage for the Month of the Military Family Celebration. She then returned to Washington DC.

The US president spent two days in Vietnam before flying to the Philippines:

At the zoo, a group of schoolchildren greeted Mrs Trump. She had a gift for every child:

For anyone wondering:

Lucky children. They were able to tour the zoo with her:

Mrs Trump expressed her thanks for being able to see GuGu the panda:

Then it was time for her final destination:

The Conservative Treehouse gives us background on the tour:

First Lady Melania Trump visited the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall in China as the sun was starting to settle low on the horizon. It was windy and slightly cold as our First Lady signed a guest registry and was presented with a scroll from atop one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

A state official said that Yukun Zhang, chairman, Mutianyu Great Wall Travel Service Co., Ltd, received the first lady after the ride up on the cable car. After signing the guest registry Mrs. Trump made her way up a short flight of stairs to the Great Wall.

Mrs Trump wore flats:

Meanwhile, the US president landed at Da Nang International Airport:

Trump met US veterans who chose to live in Vietnam after the war. They met at the Hyatt Regency Da Nang Resort and Spa. This transcript has his address and exchange with the retired soldiers. An excerpt follows:

Our accountability efforts in Vietnam are very, very important to all of us. We will not rest until all of the 1,253 missing veterans are returned home. I want to thank the government of Vietnam for their assistance in our efforts.

Today, I’m signing a proclamation to honor the veterans of the Vietnam War. This is part of the ongoing 13-year commemoration of their sacrifice for freedom. And I just want to thank these seven very brave people for being here. I got to know them for a few minutes upfront, and they are definitely tough, smart cookies. We like them. I think they like me too. I’m not sure, but I think — (applause) — no, I think they do. I think they do. I think they see what we’re doing for our military.

Would you like to say a few words, any of you guys? Would you like to say something? Huh?

MR. HOPPER: Sure.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Come on. Come on up here. Here’s your chance. You can be a big star now.

MR. HOPPER: Well, I’m not sure about that. But just on behalf of many of us standing up in the front of the room today, I just want to say what an honor and privilege it is to be with our President. I so admire what you’re doing for our country.

Thank you for your dedication to our military, our country. And we’re all behind you in making America great again.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. That’s so nice. Thank you very much.

MR. HOPPER: Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)

MR. REYNOLDS: It’s an honor to be here. My family is so proud. My wife loves you. (Laughter.) She does. We all love you.

All of the veterans that I represent in my community asked me to say to you: Keep doing what you’re doing. We need to win. We need to make America great again. And we definitely think you are on the right track. So, thank you. It’s honor to meet you, sir.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We will keep it going, and we will get it done.

MR. REYNOLDS: Absolutely.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No doubt.

MR. REYNOLDS: I believe it. Thank you very much.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Anybody?

MR. MORGAN: Mr. President, from my heart, thank you for your support of the military, and it’s an honor to be here as one of seven Vietnam veterans representing the 58,000 heroes who never made it home.

Thank you so much.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you so much. (Applause.)

MR. MORGAN: Thank you, sir. Thank you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: You nervous?

MR. GOODE: I am nervous.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don’t think so. I don’t think so.

MR. GOODE: I am nervous.

You know, it’s an honor for me to be here today to meet the President of the United States that’s doing such a fine job for America. I’m so proud of him and what he’s doing, and I’m also really proud to represent all those veterans that are back home to be one of seven of these veterans that are here today. It’s such an honor to represent the rest of those veterans in the United States of America.

Thank you.

This is the text of the aforementioned proclamation. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. Nearly every president since then has made a statement about finding the 1,253 missing veterans. Perhaps Trump will be the one to make that happen.

He also tweeted a 242nd happy birthday greeting to the United States Marine Corps.

Trump then went to the APEC CEO Summit 2017 at the Ariyana Da Nang Exhibition Center.

Trump addressed the summit. Note ‘H.E.’ before his name — His Excellency — in the video below:

The full transcript is here. This is is some of what he said:

This next one is really important:

This is also very important (emphases mine):

Earlier this week, I addressed the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea and urged every responsible nation to stand united in declaring that every single step the North Korean regime takes toward more weapons is a step it takes into greater and greater danger. The future of this region and its beautiful people must not be held hostage to a dictator’s twisted fantasies of violent conquest and nuclear blackmail

We must also deal decisively with other threats to our security and the future of our children, such as criminal cartels, human smuggling, drugs, corruption, cybercrime, and territorial expansion. As I have said many times before: All civilized people must come together to drive out terrorists and extremists from our societies, stripping them of funding, territory, and ideological support. We must stop radical Islamic terrorism.

So let us work together for a peaceful, prosperous, and free Indo-Pacific. I am confident that, together, every problem we have spoken about today can be solved and every challenge we face can be overcome.

If we succeed in this effort, if we seize the opportunities before us and ground our partnerships firmly in the interests of our own people, then together we will achieve everything we dream for our nations and for our children.

We will be blessed with a world of strong, sovereign, and independent nations, thriving in peace and commerce with others. They will be places where we can build our homes and where families, businesses, and people can flourish and grow.

If we do this, will we look at the globe half a century from now, and we will marvel at the beautiful constellation of nations — each different, each unique, and each shining brightly and proudly throughout this region of the world. And just as when we look at the stars in the night sky, the distance of time will make most of the challenges we have and that we spoke of today seem very, very small.

What will not seem small — what is not small — will be the big choices that all of our nations will have to make to keep their stars glowing very, very brightly.

Another fabulous speech by Stephen Miller. What a man he is, blessed by God with a talent for prose.

He also met Vladimir Putin ahead of their meeting on November 11. Men were given silk Vietnamese shirts to wear for the evening’s events (the more formal photo is here):

The two did not meet formally at APEC, although they found time to converse. Reuters reported that they discussed defeating ISIS and confirmed their commitment to Syria’s sovereignty. The Daily Mail has more. Both media outlets say that the Kremlin issued a joint statement, however, the White House offered no confirmation.

The APEC gala dinner followed. Before dinner:

A cultural performance concluded a busy day.

Meanwhile, Mrs Trump was in Alaska and spent time talking with the children attending school at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage. The children were decorating paper fish and sculpting Play Doh:

She also spoke with military personnel:

Mrs Trump arrived at the White House late that night.

More on Trump’s second day in Vietnam tomorrow.

As part of their tour of Asia …

… President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump landed in China on Wednesday, November 8, 2017, as guests of President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan.

The caption refers to the contrast with Obama’s arrival on September 4, 2016 in Beijing for the G20 summit, as the Telegraph reported:

All the other world leaders appeared to have been welcomed to the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou in traditional diplomatic style, treading onto a red carpet laid on a rolling airport staircase positioned outside the main exit of the aircraft.

Mr Obama, however, instead used Air Force One’s smaller exit as he arrived on his final tour of Asia, sparking suggestions that he had been snubbed by his Chinese hosts.

The Chinese gave the Trumps a warm welcome, complete with a military honour guard, a marching band and cheering children (start at 12:00):

AP reported that this is highly unusual:

The ceremony accompanying Trump’s arrival Wednesday afternoon was elaborate even by China’s lavish standards. Heads of state are usually given a low-key reception at the airport, with the real pomp and circumstance reserved for his or her arrival at the Great Hall of the People in the center of Beijing.

This was the schedule for the day:

3:30pm / 2:30am THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY will have tea with President Xi Jinping of the Peoples Republic of China and Madame Peng Liyuan, Forbidden City, Beijing, Peoples Republic of China

3:55pm / 2:55am THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY tour the Forbidden City and view an opera performance with President Xi and Madame Peng Liyan, Forbidden City, Beijing, Peoples Republic of China.

6:00pm / 5:00am THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY have dinner with President Xi and Madame Peng, Beijing, Peoples Republic of China

7:05pm / 6:05am THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY depart the Forbidden City en route their overnight accommodations, Beijing, Peoples Republic of China.

The Forbidden City provided beautiful photo ops. The Hall of Supreme Harmony is in the background:

Someone tweeted:

Nothing says MAGA like tea and opera!

Indeed.

On the MAGA front, AFP reported:

US and Chinese companies signed nearly 20 deals worth a total $9 billion on Wednesday at the start of President Donald Trump’s state visit to Beijing.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang oversaw a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People but they did not immediately give details about the 19 deals.

Wang said the agreements were merely a “warmup” before Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping oversee their own ceremony on Thursday involving bigger deals, including in exports of natural gas and soybeans.

Trump plans to use the three-day trip to press Xi on China’s massive trade surplus with the United States, which slightly fell in October to $26.6 billion, according to official Chinese data released on Wednesday.

The Daily Mail has photos of the Trumps touring other parts of the Forbidden City, including the Conservation Scientific Laboratory, where the elaborate automata clocks intrigued the president.

Then it was time for pleasant entertainment, albeit outdoors. There is no glass on the window where the Xis and the Trumps sat:

Afterwards, the Xis and the Trumps had dinner in the Forbidden City. Several media outlets have reported that no foreign leader has been given this honour since the People’s Republic of China was founded 68 years ago. This is YUGE!

That evening, Trump tweeted:

That tweet is a big deal, because China blocks access to Twitter, Facebook and other Western social media. Reuters reported that not only did Trump manage to evade what is known as the Great Firewall, he also changed his Twitter banner to a photo taken at the opera that evening:

The Twitter banner upload did not go unnoticed by Chinese state media, with state broadcaster CCTV flashing screenshots of the photograph on Thursday.

Trump’s visit was also the third-most talked-about topic on Chinese social media platform Weibo over the last 24 hours, trailing only the birthday of a singer in a Chinese boy band and a weekly Asian pop song chart.

Many people wondered how Trump managed to evade China’s tough internet controls …

Many foreigners log on to virtual private networks (VPNs) to access content hosted outside of China. Another option is to sign up for a data-roaming service before leaving one’s home country.

On the morning of Thursday, November 9, an impressive welcome ceremony took place, which shows what honoured guests the American president and first lady were.

The main American news channels did not broadcast this.

Yet, in China, this was the first time such an event was broadcast on live television.

Everything was more than perfect, from the soldiers’ standing to attention, their formations, to the military band music — which included The Star-Spangled Banner and Hail to the Chief — to the cheering Chinese and American schoolchildren. I’ve never seen such precision:

 

Afterwards, Xi, Trump and their respective delegations met in Peking’s Great Hall for a series of meetings. The two men met first in a closed door session, then invited their delegations to join them for discussions on trade, finance and security.

Reuters reported that a soybean deal was made. The US has a record crop:

The United States soybean industry has signed two letters of intent with Chinese importers covering a $5 billion purchase of an additional 12 million tonnes of soybeans in the 2017/18 marketing year.

The non-binding agreements, disclosed by the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) in a statement, are among a series of trade deals announced during the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump to Beijing. China is the world’s top soybean buyer, and the United States is its second supplier after Brazil.

In the first agreement, signed on Nov. 8, the China Chamber of Commerce of Foodstuffs and Native Produce said it intended to purchase 8 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans worth $3.4 billion.

A second agreement will be signed on Thursday between grains trader ADM and China’s COFCO for intent to purchase 4 million tonnes of soybeans worth $1.6 billion, said the USSEC.

LNG — liquid natural gas — was also on the agenda, as CNBC reported:

Despite the recent gains and the agreement with Trump, Chinese buyers are still only purchasing U.S. LNG from third parties in short-term spot trades. And there is currently only one company, Cheniere Energy, capable of exporting large shipments of LNG from the United States.

Cheniere CEO Jack Fusco and Texas LNG Chief Operating Officer Langtry Meyer are joining the Trump delegation. The companies did not respond to questions about their agenda in China, but energy research firm Wood Mackenzie said securing commitments is likely at the top of Trump’s list.

“The fact that Trump will arrive in Beijing with a large business delegation in tow, including a sizeable contingent from the energy sector, indicates that the White House is looking to secure concrete commercial agreements from the upcoming trip,” Kerry-Anne Shanks, head of Asia gas and LNG at Wood Mackenzie, said in an email briefing on Tuesday.

While meetings took place, Madame Pen Liyaun took Mrs Trump on a tour of China’s Art and Design School in Beijing:

That afternoon, the two leaders held a joint press conference in the Great Hall.

The Conservative Treehouse summarised Trump’s remarks (emphasis in the original):

President Trump followed President Xi’s remarks with a speech as deliberate and unambiguous as the internal audience would ever fathom hearing.  President Trump respectfully pulled no punches in his direct and emphatic style; stating that China needed to engage in, well, to use China’s familiar wording, “correct thinking” on a variety of issues – including trade and their necessary responsibility toward North Korea.

No-one else could pull this off, except Trump. Not that way. The best part is always the emphatic part at the end.  President Trump gives the look saying: well, that’s that then; that’s all I’ve got to say about that... smiles bigly, and the diplomatic opponent tries not to look smaller than they were ten minutes earlier. [key word, ‘tries‘] …

Also note Trump’s alpha male handshake:

That evening, President Xi and Madame Peng Liyuan hosted a state dinner in the Trumps’ honour. Like the welcome ceremony, films of the two men from prior meetings were shown beforehand. The optics were clear — Xi clearly respects Trump. As the original video posted was withdrawn, I had to swap to a less detailed one:

After the film clips, Xi gave a speech, followed by Trump.

Xi recalled President Richard Nixon’s trip to China 45 years ago during the Cold War. He spoke of the two countries’ continuing partnership and co-operation to better mankind. He then offered a toast. Trump smiled broadly, raising his glass (soft drink).

Then, it was Trump’s turn to speak. A flourish of trumpets preceded his speech. He thanked Xi for his ‘generous words’ and warm hospitality ‘from the moment we arrived’. He spoke of their tour of the Forbidden City. He said their meetings presented an ‘incredible opportunity’ to spread ‘peace and prosperity’ around the world. He spoke of the historic characteristics that the US and China share, including venturing into the unknown. He spoke of achieving a ‘more just, fair and peaceful world for our children’. He looked forward to ‘a friendship that will grow stronger and stronger’. He then offered a toast.

President Xi — and the rest of the room — gave Trump a standing ovation.

After a film of Trump’s granddaughter Arabella Kushner (Ivanka’s daughter) sang all the verses of a folk song — My Good Mother — in Mandarin, which the Xis clearly loved. Peng Liyuan, a former folk singer, sang along softly. Arabella began by addressing Xi and Peng as ‘grandpa’ and ‘grandma’ — a child diplomat!

Then, dinner was served. Afterwards, entertainment was provided in the form of a cultural performance.

On the subject of fair trade and how China has taken advantage of the United States for so many years, Trump said:

Trump had a tremendous visit:

CNBC reported that 37 major trade deals have been signed:

The dollar value of those deals is in excess of $250 billion. Caterpillar, Boeing, and Goldman Sachs are just some of the notable names on the list of companies that made deals with China, the full list of which is below.

See the article for more details.

More to follow tomorrow. Mrs Trump stayed in China for another day while President Trump flew to Vietnam.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are on a tour of Asia. Mrs Trump will be returning to the United States from China, but the US president has more stops to make in what promises to be a historic trip in terms of diplomacy, a strategy for North Korea and trade:

The Trumps left Japan for South Korea, arriving on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 — one year after his election win.

President Moon Jae-in visited the White House at the end of June. Fox News reported that trade was at the top of the agenda:

Trump, who discussed a variety of trade issues with President Moon Jae-in during his visit to the White House, praised South Korean companies for investing in the U.S. Multiple companies, including Samsung, announced combined investments of $12.8 billion to coincide with President Moon’s meeting with Trump.

Cheniere, the only company that exports liquefied natural gas (LNG) from U.S. shale, said earlier this week that its export terminal in Louisiana began shipments to South Korea this month, officially kicking off a deal that was signed in 2012. Under terms of the 20-year agreement, Cheniere will make 3.5 million tons of LNG available to Korea Gas Corp. on an annual basis.

Security in South Korea was at ‘highest-level’, as the Korea Herald reported. A number of rallies and demonstrations were planned. The pro-Trump rallies included groups grateful for American protection against North Korea:

Pro-US rallies were also held across the nation on a smaller scale. The protesters, mostly elderly, hailed the US as the savior of South Korea for protecting it from its communist neighbor. They called for a stronger response to the North’s military provocations.

The Korea Herald also provided interesting details about the trip. Excerpts follow:

Trump’s stay here will last approximately 24 hours, the shortest in his five-nation tour. Due to time constraints, the US leader has decided to skip a trip to the Demilitarized Zone, the tense border with North Korea, which has virtually become a staple in any official itinerary to South Korea …

Actually, he did attempt to visit the DMZ on Wednesday, but heavy fog grounded Marine One at Yongsan.

Also:

Seoul officials are said to be mulling how best to congratulate Trump on the anniversary during a state dinner scheduled for Tuesday without wine or Champagne, as the US leader does not drink.

First lady Melania Trump will accompany her husband to S. Korea, although little is known about her planned schedule here. First daughter Ivanka Trump, however, will not be coming. She had planned to join her father in Japan, Korea and China, but decided to visit only Japan, leaving before he arrived. Jared Kushner, her husband and a White House senior aide, is coming with Trump and many other top aides.

With regard to Camp Humphreys, Trump’s first stop:

Already the US’ largest overseas military base by area, commanding a space of 14.67 million square meters, it is set to be the largest by population in 2020, with some 46,000 people, when more US soldiers from several other bases in Korea move in.

This was Trump’s fourth visit to South Korea:

The two previous visits in June 1998 and May 1999 were arranged by the now-defunct Daewoo Group here, which General Motors acquired in 2002. Daewoo’s engineering and construction arm collaborated with Trump on building the 262-meter high Trump World Tower near the United Nation’s headquarters in Manhattan, New York, which was completed in 2001.

During his visit in the summer of 1998, Trump toured a shipyard and car factory under Daewoo Group. He reportedly asked then-ranking officials at the South Korean company to build him a destroyer, so he could customize it into a private yacht. It is not clear whether he said this in a joking manner. Donald Trump Jr., Trump’s eldest son, accompanied him on the trip.

A year later, Trump embarked on a brief one-day trip to South Korea to attend an opening event for a model house and to discuss the management of the residential buildings here called “Trump World.” As a businessman, he had lent his name as a brand to the high-rise residential buildings.

There are now seven Trump World buildings in South Korea.

I liked the way the Herald discussed the anti-Trump protests (emphases mine):

Thousands of Americans critical of Trump are planning a collective screaming session on Wednesday, marking the first anniversary of his election victory over Hillary Clinton. But Trump will be nowhere close enough to hear, as he will be … rounding up his visit to South Korea and heading for the next stop, China.

The Yonhap News Agency had a one-line news story:

(URGENT) Trump says does not wish to use force against N. Korea

At his joint press conference with Japanese president Abe, Trump said:

Some people said that my rhetoric is very strong. But look what’s happened with very weak rhetoric over the last 25 years.

He also said the North Koreans are:

“a great people under a very oppressive regime.” Hopes showdown “all works out…will be better for everybody.”

The flight from Tokyo to Osan Air Base outside of Seoul took two hours.

The Trumps received a highly respectful welcome:

This was the schedule for Tuesday:

12:55pm / 10:55pm THE PRESIDENT has lunch with troops from the United States and the Republic of Korea – Camp Humphreys, Republic of Korea

1:20pm / 11:20pm THE PRESIDENT receives an operational briefing, Camp Humphreys, Republic of Korea

2:30pm / 12:30am THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY participate in an arrival ceremony, Blue House, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

2:35pm / 12:35am THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY participate in a guestbook signing, Blue House, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

2:45pm / 12:45am THE PRESIDENT participates in a bilateral meeting with President Moon Jae-In of the Republic of Korea, Blue House, Seoul, Republic of Korea

2:55pm / 12:55am THE PRESIDENT participates in an expanded bilateral meeting with President Moon, Blue House, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

♦4:10pm / 2:10am THE PRESIDENT participates in a friendship walk with President Moon, Blue House, Seoul, Republic of Korea

4:20pm / 2:20am THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY will have tea and take photographs with President Moon, Blue House, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

4:45pm / 2:45am THE PRESIDENT participates in a joint press conference with President Moon, Blue House, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

7:35pm / 5:35am THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY attend a state dinner, Blue House, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

The Trump motorcade passed through central Seoul. Contrary to what the caption below says, President and Mrs Trump parted company at Osan Air Base, as she had a different lunch engagement. They kissed each other goodbye.

Enthusiastic South Koreans lined the street:

There’s another photo of Trump supporters here.

There is something very wrong with the West in their hate of Trump when other countries love the man.

At Camp Humphreys, General Vincent Brooks U.S. Forces Commander Korea and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson greeted the president.

Trump sat with the troops for lunch, with the Korean president to his left:

Trump said, ‘Good food!’

After lunch, he addressed the troops, followed by the Korean president.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders enjoyed the visit:

The following day, an Army Ranger lent Sanders his jacket on the abortive trip to the DMZ.

While the US president was at Camp Humphreys, the first lady met young fans of hers:

The Trumps met up in the afternoon for a traditional and elaborate welcome ceremony in Seoul:

At the Korean president’s residence, the Blue House, enthusiastic schoolchildren welcomed the Trumps:

Once inside, the Trumps signed the guest book.

That evening, President Moon Jae-in and First Lady Kim hosted a lavish four-course state dinner for the Trumps. The Daily Mail reported:

President Moon Jae-in observed the date – Election Day in the United States – and marked one full year since Trump won the White House.

‘In Korea, we have a custom of holding a special celebration on one’s first birthday,’ he said at the Blue House, South Korea’s presidential mansion.

‘So after pondering about how to best celebrate the first anniversary of President Trump’s victory, I decided to invite the President to Korea as a state guest and hold a banquet.’

Moon said Trump’s presidency ‘is already making America great again.’

Trump returned the compliment.

‘The relationship that we have is a fantastic one,’ he said. ‘The partnership between our two nations and our two people is deep and enduring.’

‘Together our nations remind the world of the boundless potential of societies that choose freedom over tyranny,’ he added, a not-so-subtle reference to the communist North.

Trump toasted with a glass of cola.

Foodies will love the Mail‘s exquisite photos of each course: corn porridge, grilled sole, grilled Hanwoo (Korean beef) with 360-year-old soy sauce and, for dessert, triple chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and cinnamon-punch granita.

Anti-Trump protests took place in Seoul that night.

On Wednesday, Presidents Moon and Trump gave a joint press conference:

Afterwards, Trump was:

The US president signed the guest book:

Assembly Speaker Chung gave Trump the highest accolade possible (also reported elsewhere):

South Korea just introduced President Trump as the LEADER OF THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!

He added:

Trump exhibits “excellent leadership” and “great negotiating ability”.

I love it!

From the prose style, I can tell that Trump adviser Stephen Miller wrote the speech. He is the best speechwriter — ever. Excerpts follow.

Trump began with a review of modern history, which started with this:

This alliance between our nations was forged in the crucible of war, and strengthened by the trials of history. From the Inchon landings to Pork Chop Hill, American and South Korean soldiers have fought together, sacrificed together, and triumphed together.

After the Korean War:

over the next two generations something miraculous happened on the southern half of this peninsula. Family by family, city by city, the people of South Korea built this country into what is today one of the great nations of the world. And I congratulate you. (Applause.) In less than one lifetime, South Korea climbed from total devastation to among the wealthiest nations on Earth.

With regard to North Korea:

in the end, we will work things out far better than anybody understands or can even appreciate. I know that the Republic of Korea, which has become a tremendously successful nation, will be a faithful ally of the United States very long into the future. (Applause.)

He enumerated and praised South Korea’s great accomplishments in recent times before discussing the poverty and atrocities in North Korea. Please read the transcript starting halfway down. What is going on there is worse than many of us — myself included — imagine.

After that, he said:

North Korea is a country ruled as a cult. At the center of this military cult is a deranged belief in the leader’s destiny to rule as parent protector over a conquered Korean Peninsula and an enslaved Korean people.

The more successful South Korea becomes, the more decisively you discredit the dark fantasy at the heart of the Kim regime.

In this way, the very existence of a thriving South Korean republic threatens the very survival of the North Korean dictatorship.

This city and this assembly are living proof that a free and independent Korea not only can, but does stand strong, sovereign, and proud among the nations of the world. (Applause.) …

This reality — this wonderful place — your success is the greatest cause of anxiety, alarm, and even panic to the North Korean regime. That is why the Kim regime seeks conflict abroad — to distract from total failure that they suffer at home.

Trump discussed the violations of the armistice by the North Koreans as well as their build-up of nuclear and ballistic weaponry. Then he said:

Today, I hope I speak not only for our countries, but for all civilized nations, when I say to the North: Do not underestimate us, and do not try us. We will defend our common security, our shared prosperity, and our sacred liberty.

We did not choose to draw here, on this peninsula — (applause) — this magnificent peninsula — the thin line of civilization that runs around the world and down through time. But here it was drawn, and here it remains to this day. It is the line between peace and war, between decency and depravity, between law and tyranny, between hope and total despair. It is a line that has been drawn many times, in many places, throughout history. To hold that line is a choice free nations have always had to make. We have learned together the high cost of weakness and the high stakes of its defense.

Also:

That is why I have come here, to the heart of a free and flourishing Korea, with a message for the peace-loving nations of the world: The time for excuses is over. Now is the time for strength. If you want peace, you must stand strong at all times. (Applause.) The world cannot tolerate the menace of a rogue regime that threatens with nuclear devastation.

All responsible nations must join forces to isolate the brutal regime of North Korea — to deny it and any form — any form of it. You cannot support, you cannot supply, you cannot accept. We call on every nation, including China and Russia, to fully implement U.N. Security Council resolutions, downgrade diplomatic relations with the regime, and sever all ties of trade and technology.

It is our responsibility and our duty to confront this danger together — because the longer we wait, the greater the danger grows, and the fewer the options become. (Applause.) And to those nations that choose to ignore this threat, or, worse still, to enable it, the weight of this crisis is on your conscience.

He concluded:

Together, we dream of a Korea that is free, a peninsula that is safe, and families that are reunited once again. We dream of highways connecting North and South, of cousins embracing cousins, and this nuclear nightmare replaced with the beautiful promise of peace.

Until that day comes, we stand strong and alert. Our eyes are fixed to the North, and our hearts praying for the day when all Koreans can live in freedom. (Applause.)

Thank you. (Applause.) God Bless You. God Bless the Korean people. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)

The National Assembly gave him a standing ovation:

Also note in the caption the historic significance of the speech:

The last US president to address the National Assembly was Bush I.

Yonhap News Agency reported on the joint press conference, excerpted below:

U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he is making “a lot of progress” in efforts aimed at forcing North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile ambitions.

In a joint press conference after a summit in Seoul with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump also urged the international community to closely cooperate in putting pressure on the recalcitrant state.

“I think we are making a lot of progress,” Trump said. “We are showing great strength and I think they understand we have unparalleled strength. There has never been strength like it.”

The Trumps’ final stop was to Seoul National Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony.

Then it was time to leave South Korea:

Mrs Trump expressed her gratitude to the South Koreans:

The Trumps will have fond memories of their trip. Here is another photo from the welcoming ceremony:

I will cover the China trip early next week.

On July 24, I wrote about the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect coined by the late Michael Crichton about our misplaced trust in Big Media.

There is a psychological condition that appears to affect some journalists in Big Media. It is called the Dunning-Kruger effect, which can be boiled down to this:

‘Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments’

Psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger were intrigued by a crime report about a man who:

robbed two banks after covering his face with lemon juice in the mistaken belief that, because lemon juice is usable as invisible ink, it would prevent his face from being recorded on surveillance cameras.[3]   The authors noted that earlier studies suggested that ignorance of standards of performance lies behind a great deal of incorrect self-assessment of competence.

In 1999, they performed a series of experiments with the participation of Cornell University students as their subjects. The students performed a variety of tasks and were asked to assess their predicted and actual performance:

This pattern of over-estimating competence was seen in studies of skills as diverse as reading comprehension, practicing medicine, operating a motor vehicle, and playing games such as chess or tennis. Dunning and Kruger proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will:[4]

  • fail to recognize their own lack of skill
  • fail to recognize the extent of their inadequacy
  • fail to accurately gauge skill in others
  • recognize and acknowledge their own lack of skill only after they are exposed to training for that skill

Ultimately:

“If you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent.… [T]he skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is.”[5]

The Dunning-Kruger effect was in play at the White House press briefing on Wednesday, August 2, 2017.

Before I go into the story, the only person in the White House I trust 100% — other than President Donald Trump — is his senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, born to Democrats in California. He saw the truth about leftism as a high school student and became a conservative. He worked for then-Senator (now Attorney General) Jeff Sessions for several years prior to Sessions joining Trump’s campaign team, at which point Miller joined his boss to develop policy for Trump’s campaign. Miller appeared at several Trump rallies in 2016 and also writes the president’s speeches. I know a Miller speech when I hear it. They are factual and rousing, a difficult combination to achieve.

On August 2, Miller explained to the media the Trump administration’s latest endeavour, the RAISE Act, which is Green Card reform. Miller helped to produce it.

The following excerpts come from the White House transcript of the press briefing. Miller stated (emphases mine):

Every year we issue a million green cards to foreign nationals from all the countries of the world, but we do so without regard to whether that applicant has demonstrated the skill that can add to the U.S. economy, whether they can pay their own way or be reliant on welfare, or whether they’ll displace or take a job from an American worker.

And as a result of this policy, in place now for many years, we’ve seen significant reductions in wages for blue collar workers, massive displacement of African American and Hispanic workers, as well as the displacement of immigrant workers from previous years who oftentimes compete directly against new arrivals who are being paid even less.

So it’s a policy that’s actually exacerbated wealth inequality in the country in a pretty significant way. So you’ve seen over time, as a result of this historic flow of unskilled immigration, a shift in wealth from the working class to wealthier corporations and businesses. And it’s been very unfair for American workers, but especially for immigrant workers, African American workers, and Hispanic workers, and blue collar workers in general across the country.

At the same time, it has cost taxpayers enormously because roughly half of immigrant head of households in the United States receive some type of welfare benefit — which I know is a fact that many people might consider astonishing, but it’s not surprising when you have an immigration system that doesn’t look at questions like skill level or self-sufficiency.

And so this proposal has several major historic changes. First, it eliminates so-called chain migration. So right now, what does chain migration mean? It means that if you come into the United States on a green card — and just so we’re all clear, a green card gives the recipient lifetime work authorization, the ability to bring in their family members. It gives them a fast track to U.S. citizenship and, with that, all the benefits that come with being an American citizen.

And so the individuals right now who are receiving green cards, they can bring in, say, an elderly relative who could immediately go on to public assistance if they become unable to support themselves financially. And then that person can bring in a relative who can bring in a relative who can bring in a relative, and that’s why they call it chain migration. And over years, that has massively de-skilled the migrant flow into America and produced all of those effects I’m talking about.

So we’re proposing to limit family-based migration to spouses and minor children. Additionally, we’re establishing a new entry system that’s points-based. Australia has a points-based system, Canada has a points-based system. And what will this system look at? It will look at: Does the applicant speak English? Can they support themselves and their families financially? Do they have a skill that will add to the U.S. economy? Are they being paid a high wage?

And so that’s a major historic change to U.S. immigration policy. The effect of this, switching to a skills-based system and ending unfettered chain migration, would be, over time, you would cut net migration in half, which polling shows is supported overwhelmingly by the American people in very large numbers.

Two reporters demonstrated the Dunning-Krueger effect: Glenn Thrush of the New York Times and Jim Acosta of CNN.

Glenn Thrush

Most people, Americans included, have no idea who Glenn Thrush is.

In 2015, Thrush was working for Politico, at which time he was fawning all over Hillary Clinton’s campaign supremo John Podesta. Thanks to the Podesta WikiLeaks, we have proof in email 12681, which shows that Thrush willingly showed his copy in advance to Podesta:

On Apr 30, 2015 3:00 PM, “Glenn Thrush” <gthrush@politico.com> wrote:

No worries

Because I have become a hack I will send u the whole section that pertains

to u

Please don’t share or tell anyone I did this

Tell me if I f[–]ked up anything

Thrush asked Miller two questions. The first doubted that immigration affected jobs for workers already in the United States and the second doubted that immigration was more important than infrastructure, another area that Trump wants to reform.

Miller refuted that immigration was more important and then went on to name the immigration studies the administration has looked at, from the Cuban Mariel boatlift in the 1970s to the present day. He then said:

But let’s also use common sense here, folks. At the end of the day, why do special interests want to bring in more low-skilled workers? And why historically —

The following exchange ensued. Miller put Thrush in his place:

Q Stephen, I’m not asking for common sense. I’m asking for specific statistical data.

MR. MILLER: Well, I think it’s very clear, Glenn, that you’re not asking for common sense, but if I could just answer your question.

Q No, no, not common sense. Common sense is fungible. Statistics are not.

MR. MILLER: I named the studies, Glenn.

Q Let me just finish the question. Tell me the specific —

MR. MILLER: Glenn, Glenn, Glenn — I named the studies. I named the studies.

Q I asked you for a statistic. Can you tell me how many —

MR. MILLER: Glenn, maybe we’ll make a carve-out in the bill that says the New York Times can hire all the low-skilled, less-paid workers they want from other countries, and see how you feel then about low-wage substitution. This is a reality that’s happening in our country.

Q (Inaudible.)

MR. MILLER: Maybe it’s time we had compassion, Glenn, for American workers. President Trump has met with American workers who have been replaced by foreign workers.

Q Oh, I understand. I’m not questioning any of that. I’m asking for —

MR. MILLER: And ask them — ask them how this has affected their lives.

Q I’m not asking them. I’m asking you for a number.

MR. MILLER: Look at — I just told you.

Q Give me the number of low-skilled jobs that Americans might otherwise have —

MR. MILLER: If you look at — first of all, if you look at the premise, Glenn, of bringing in low-skilled labor, it’s based on the idea that there’s a labor shortage for lower-skilled jobs. There isn’t. The number of people living in the United States in the working ages who aren’t working today is at a record high.

One in four Americans — or almost one in four Americans between the ages of 25 and 54 aren’t even employed. For African American workers, their labor force participation rate who don’t have a high school diploma — I guess, African American males without a high school diploma has plummeted some 40 percentage points since the mass wave of unskilled migration began.

The reality is that, if you just use common sense — and, yes, I will use common sense — the reason why some companies want to bring in more unskilled labor is because they know that it drives down wages and reduces labor costs.

Our question as a government is, to whom is our duty? Our duty is to U.S. citizens and U.S. workers to promote rising wages for them. If low-skilled immigration was an unalloyed good for the economy, then why have we been growing at 1.5 percent for the last 17 years at a time of unprecedented new low-wage arrivals? The facts speak for themselves. At some point, we’re accountable to reality.

On the other hand, like I said, you have ultra-high-skilled workers who are at the back of the line, which makes no sense in the year 2017.

I put the figures in there to show that Miller answered Thrush’s question in full — and to provide anti-Trumpers with the rationale behind the RAISE Act.

I doubt Thrush got what Miller was saying to him about low-wage substitution. (I’d be thrilled if that happened to these reporters as it has with sub-editors.) In fact, Thrush probably thinks he won that round.

Jim Acosta

Thrush is a media minnow compared to the mighty Jim Acosta of CNN.

He was upset when Sean Spicer, who has been relieved of his White House duties, no longer televised the press briefings.

Acosta often reminds everyone that he is the child of Cuban immigrants. Yes, he and millions of others are, but why continue to put so much emphasis on it? My Cuban immigrant friends from university days never did. They emphasised being American over being Cuban.

This was the exchange between Miller and Acosta. Acosta deliberately conflated the Statue of Liberty poem, the proposed wall between the US and Mexico and his father’s own emigration from Cuba:

… since the last question is not on the subject at hand, I will take one actual last question on the subject at hand.

Yes.

Q What you’re proposing, or what the President is proposing here does not sound like it’s in keeping with American tradition when it comes to immigration. The Statue of Liberty says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” It doesn’t say anything about speaking English or being able to be a computer programmer.

Aren’t you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country if you’re telling them you have to speak English? Can’t people learn how to speak English when they get here?

MR. MILLER: Well, first of all, right now it’s a requirement that to be naturalized you have to speak English. So the notion that speaking English wouldn’t be a part of our immigration system would be actually very ahistorical.

Secondly, I don’t want to get off into a whole thing about history here, but the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of liberty and lighting the world. It’s a symbol of American liberty lighting the world. The poem that you’re referring to, that was added later, is not actually a part of the original Statue of Liberty.

But more fundamentally, the history —

Q You’re saying that that does not represent what the country —

MR. MILLER: I’m saying that the notion —

Q — has always thought of as immigration coming into this country?

MR. MILLER: I’m saying the notion —

Q Stephen, I’m sorry, but that sounds like some —

MR. MILLER: Jim, let me ask you a question.

Q That sounds like some National Park revisionism. (Laughter.)

MR. MILLER: No. What I’m asking you is —

Q The Statue of Liberty has always been a beacon of hope to the world for people to send their people to this country —

MR. MILLER: Jim — Jim, do you believe —

Q — and they’re not always going to speak English, Stephen. They’re not always going to be highly skilled. They’re not always going to be somebody who can go to work at Silicon Valley right away.

MR. MILLER: Jim, I appreciate your speech. So let’s talk about this.

Q It was a modest and incremental speech.

MR. MILLER: Jim, let’s talk about this. In 1970, when we let in 300,000 people a year, was that violating or not violating the Statue of Liberty law of the land? In the 1990s, when it was half-a-million a year, was it violating or not violating the Statue of Liberty law of the land?

Q Was it violating the Statue of Liberty and the —

MR. MILLER: No, tell me what years — tell me what years —

Q (Inaudible) call for a deportation force?

MR. MILLER: Tell me what years meet Jim Acosta’s definition of the Statue of Liberty poem law of the land. So you’re saying a million a year is the Statue of Liberty number? 900,000 violates it? 800,000 violates it?

Q You’re sort of bringing a “press one for English” philosophy here to immigration, and that’s never been what the United States has been about, Stephen. I mean, that’s just the case —

Mr. MILLER: But your statement is also shockingly ahistorical in another respect, too — which is, if you look at the history of immigration, it’s actually ebbed and flowed. You’ve had periods of very large waves, followed by periods of less immigration and more immigration. And during the —

Q We’re in a low period of immigration right now. The President wants to build a wall and you want to bring about a sweeping change to the immigration system.

MR. MILLER: Surely, Jim, you don’t actually think that a wall affects Green Card policy. You couldn’t possibly believe that, or do you? Actually, the notion that you actually think immigration is at a historic lull — the foreign-born population in the United States today —

Q The President was just with the new Chief of Staff on Monday talking about how border crossings were way down.

MR. MILLER: I want to be serious, Jim. Do you really at CNN not know the difference between Green Card policy and illegal immigration? You really don’t know the —

Q Sir, my father was a Cuban immigrant. He came to this country in 1962 right before the Cuban Missile Crisis and obtained a Green Card.

Yes, people who immigrate to this country can eventually — people who immigrate to this country not through Ellis Island, as your family may have, but in other ways, do obtain a Green Card at some point. They do it through a lot of hard work. And, yes, they may learn English as a second language later on in life. But this whole notion of “well, they have to learn English before they get to the United States,” are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?

MR. MILLER: Jim, it’s actually — I have to honestly say I am shocked at your statement that you think that only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English. It’s actually — it reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree that in your mind

Q Sir, it’s not a cosmopolitan —

MR. MILLER: No, this is an amazing moment. This an amazing moment. That you think only people from Great Britain or Australia would speak English is so insulting to millions of hardworking immigrants who do speak English from all over the world.

Q My father came to this country not speaking any English.

MR. MILLER: Jim, have you honestly never met an immigrant from another country who speaks English outside of Great Britain and Australia? Is that your personal experience?

Q Of course, there are people who come into this country from other parts of the world.

MR. MILLER: But that’s not what you said, and it shows your cosmopolitan bias. And I just want to say —

Q It just sounds like you’re trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country through this policy.

MR. MILLER: Jim, that is one of the most outrageous, insulting, ignorant, and foolish things you’ve ever said, and for you that’s still a really — the notion that you think that this is a racist bill is so wrong and so insulting.

Q I didn’t say it was a racist bill.

MR. MILLER: Jim, the reality is, is that the foreign-born population into our country has quadrupled since 1970. That’s a fact. It’s been mostly driven by Green Card policy. Now, this bill allows for immediate nuclear family members to come into the country, much as they would today, and it adds an additional points-based system. The people who have been hurt the most —

Q You’re saying that people have to be English speaking when they’re naturalized. What is this English-speaking component that you’ve inserted into this? I don’t understand.

MR. MILLER: The people who have been hurt the most by the policy you’re advocating are —

Q What policy am I advocating?

MR. MILLER: Apparently, just unfettered, uncontrolled migration. The people who have been hurt the most by the policy —

Q (Inaudible) is for open borders. That’s the same tired thing that —

MR. MILLER: The people who have been hurt the most by the policy you’re advocating are immigrant workers and minority workers and African American workers and Hispanic workers.

No doubt Acosta thinks he won that round. And, of course, he was on television!

Disgruntled CNN viewers can always give their views via the online feedback form.

Conclusion

I reckon this particular press briefing’s ratings — and replays online — were through the roof.

You can see the full video here (Thrush comes in around the 10:00 mark and Acosta at 26:00):

Both Thrush and Acosta have an overly inflated sense of their personal competency. They cannot — or wilfully refuse to — see when they are in the wrong: the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Tomorrow’s post will look at what the Statue of Liberty and its associated poem are really about.

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