five Takeaways From Trump’s Ride to Asia

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Source:   —  November 15, 2017, at 3:22 AM

S. president since George H. W. Bush — is over. After extending his travels by a day to attend more of the E Asia Summit here, Trump finally headed residence Tuesday after recapping his ride for reporters, however beleaguered from the travel they might be.

five Takeaways From Trump’s Ride to Asia

MANILA, Philippines — One koi pond, five countries, eleven days and sixty-six tweets later, President Donald Trump'south ride to Asia — the longest of any U. S. president since George H. W. Bush — is over.

After extending his travels by a day to attend more of the E Asia Summit here, Trump finally headed residence Tuesday after recapping his ride for reporters, however beleaguered from the travel they might be.

"Would you love to stop in another couple of countries?" he joked with the press. "'Cause we can do that if you want."

It was all well worth it, Trump said, promising with his characteristic understatement: "The fruits of our work are going to be incredible."

Here are the top takeaways:

Though there was a steady stream of news, the normal Trump fire hose was — comparatively speaking — a modulated trickle.

The president repeatedly pounded his talking points on the necessity for "responsible nations" to unite against the N Korea nuclear threat and for "free and fair" trade that'd benefit not just the U. S., but any country that chose to partner with and invest in America.

Nothing is perfect, of course. Trump did discover himself off message briefly on the leg between Vietnam and the Philippines when he tried to make clear whether he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin'south denials that the Kremlin interfered in the two thousand sixteen election.

And the speech Trump used overseas was, well, not always diplomatic. It'south not every day you hear a president taunt the boss of N Korea as "brief and fat."

The White House says human rights came up "briefly" during Trump'south meeting with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. It was an issue many were wondering about even before the president sat down with the strongman, who's been widely condemned for abuses, particularly those perpetrated in the title of his war on drugs.

National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster previewed before the ride that any kind of huge Trump speech or moment to draw attention to human rights concerns was unlikely as he wondered how much it helps to "scream about these problems" as opposed to discussing them behind closed doors.

But previous administrations have taken a more active and public role in calling out abuses on the world stage, setting ethical precedents for the global community, while Trump has adopted a different approach while acting chummy with leaders love Duterte in the title of progress on other fronts.

It'south not the first time, either. Trump has welcomed Egypt'south President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to the White House — both leaders have been criticized by human rights organizations for a variety of abuses. And Trump didn't create an issue of it during their visits to Washington.

China was pressed during Trump'south ride to "do more" when it comes to curbing aggression out of Pyongyang — and the president'south sometimes over-the-top reactions to Kim were intended to thrust China to act more quickly in helping to further insulate the N Korean regime.

Reluctance from China to do something has frustrated past administrations, but President Xi Jinping'south willingness to implement UN Security Council sanctions and get steps to stop Chinese banks from doing business with Kim has buoyed the Trump administration'south hopes.

Aides said Trump had frank discussions with Xi, who agreed during his remarks to reporters that denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was desirable and advocated an approach of "dialogue and negotiation."

Trump was pressed on events from the residence front throughout his travels, notably gun control in the wake of yet another mass shooting and allegations that Republican Senate hopeful Roy Moore made sexual advances towards teenagers. The president used foreign soil as an excuse to stay on his foreign policy messaging points and to avert making domestic news.

Not that the strategy always worked.

In response to a question from NBC News about whether he'd employ "extreme vetting" of those seeking to purchase firearms aftermath of a mass shooting in a TX church, Trump chided this reporter for "bringing up a situation that probably shouldn’t be discussed too much right now." Vetting or gun control would've made "number difference" in Texas, the president said in an exchange that went viral.

The president also dodged when asked about Moore.

"I've been with you folks, so I haven't gotten to look too much," Trump told reporters on Air Force One when asked about the AL Senate hopeful, shifting the conversation instead to his TV habits. "I'm dealing with the president of China, the president of Russia, I'm dealing with the folks over here. So I haven't devoted — I haven't been able to devote very much time to it."

The president departed Asia promising a "major" announcement back in D. C. Whether that'south a previously undisclosed win from his five-nation tour is unclear.

But what was clear to trading partners is that the rules, as they pertain to trade relationships with the U. S., had changed.

"The United States has to be treated fairly in a reciprocal fashion," Trump declared in a Wednesday tweet while at the E Asia Summit here. "The massive TRADE deficits should go down quickly!"

And certainly Trump brought that message loud and clear to Asian partners while advisers parroted the "free, fair, and reciprocal" trade talking point to reporters repeatedly throughout the trip.

The question presently is what does the president have to indicate for his time spent in the region?

The White House touted over $250 billion in commercial trade deals signed while in China, but those are more business deals than trade agreements.

There is "lots of work left to do" in bringing the trade relationship to the point where Trump will be satisfied, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters.

On N Korea, though the administration seems to have gotten more from China than its predecessors, there'south still a long way to go.

Tillerson said leaders in Beijing had advocated for more waiting — to measure the impact of existing sanctions on N Korea.

"It's creating some stress with N Korea'south economy," the secretary of state said. "There are clear signs, and the Chinese side has shared with us some of the signs that they're seeing."

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