President-elect Donald Trump, center, accompanied by Trump Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, right, and Retired Gen. Michael Flynn, a senior adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, left, speaks to members of the media at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Trump’s First International Challenge Played Out In Front of His Mar-a-Lago Club Members

A little care should be taken when dealing with world affairs, I would think.

President Trump thought this past weekend would be a casual, relaxing time away, as he entertained the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.
Instead, the first international test of his presidency may have come down the pike on Saturday evening, when North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile, causing a scramble to get the information to the president and his guest.

However, Trump’s immediate handling has some wondering if he really takes the gravity of these events to mind.

Sitting alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with whom he’d spent most of the day golfing, Trump took the call on a mobile phone at his table, which was set squarely in the middle of the private club’s dining area.

As Mar-a-Lago’s wealthy members looked on from their tables, and with a keyboard player crooning in the background, Trump and Abe’s evening meal quickly morphed into a strategy session, the decision-making on full view to fellow diners, who described it in detail to CNN.

Swanning through the club’s living room and main dining area alongside Abe, Trump was — as is now typical — swarmed with paying members, who now view dinner at the club as an opportunity for a few seconds of face time with the new President.

The launch of the Musudan-level missile happened just before 8am, by Japan’s time, and flew approximately 310 miles off of North Korea’s eastern coast, coming down in the Sea of Japan.

Even as a flurry of advisers and translators descended upon the table carrying papers and phones for their bosses to consult, dinner itself proceeded apace. Waiters cleared the wedge salads and brought along the main course as Trump and Abe continued consulting with aides.

There is a certain concern that is raised when critical world issues hit and the president doesn’t take the matter to a private room, out of the gawking, selfie-taking realm of bystanders.

Trump and Abe eventually moved their meeting to a ballroom, in order to properly address the press.

Abe called the launch “intolerable,” and urged North Korea to abide by the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, which bars the nation from testing ballistic missiles.

Trump avoided the prepared remarks and simply stated that the United States would stand behind Japan, 100 percent.

After exiting the ballroom without taking questions, Trump chose to drop in on a wedding reception being held in Mar-a-Lago’s Grand Ballroom.

He posed with the bride and her bridesmaids, before grabbing a microphone.

“I saw them out on the lawn today,” Trump said of the bride and groom, who were standing nearby. “I said to the Prime Minister of Japan, I said, ‘C’mon Shinzo, let’s go over and say hello.’ “

“They’ve been members of this club for a long time,” Trump said of the newlyweds. “They’ve paid me a fortune.”

Maybe he was simply attempting to ease the tensions of the news that had just been delivered.

Maybe he is unsure of what his role should be, in these situations.

Trump is a showman, and there are times when that is an absolute asset.

It remains to be seen if this was one of those times.

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Susan Wright

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