By Piers Morgan
Originally published on DailyMail
‘Trump finds success in Asia’ screamed the CNN headline.
Every part of that sentence is bordering on unprecedented.
First, Donald Trump being called a ‘success’ during his tenure as President of the United States by someone other than himself or his White House staff.
Second, CNN, his most entrenched mainstream media enemy, being the ones to say it.
Yet what else could my old network say?
The main purpose of such a trip for any US president is to shore up relations with the countries you are visiting, and their leaders, and to represent America in a good, positive way.
Trump did all that. And he did it with an ease, confidence, respect and good humour that often seems sorely lacking back home when he’s strutting around the White House in what seems like perpetual rage.
He may be one of the most divisive presidents in history, but in terms of his celebrity status, already very big before he even ran for office, Trump’s also a political superstar of almost unprecedented proportions.
Hence the amazing scenes of excitement that have greeted him throughout the tour.
It’s been notable to see how much his numerous hosts have lavished him with extravagant praise and parades, just as we saw on his previous visits to places like Saudi Arabia and France.
They’ve worked out how to make Trump happy: treat him like the most powerful man in the world.
For a guy so widely reviled and scorned in his own country, this high level of ostentatious respect must come as a blessed relief from the relentless hour-by-hour war of attrition he wages at home with anyone and everyone from the media to grieving war widows.
On the first stop, in Japan, Prime Minister Abe played golf with Trump and a top Japanese professional star, gave him customized hats saying ‘Donald & Shinzo, make alliance even greater’, and treated him to a steak dinner, remembering Trump’s infamous claim during a trip to Japan in 1990 that he did want ‘f***ing raw fish’.
‘There has never been such close bonds intimately connecting the leaders of both nations as we do now in the history of the Japan-US alliance,’ said Abe.
Wow. Trump himself couldn’t have out-hyperbole’d that euphoric statement.
He added: ‘There is a special bond forged between President Trump and myself which is meaningful and I am grateful to be part of.’
Not to be outdone by Abe, he treated Trump to grilled Korean beef rib cooked with a 360-year-old soy sauce.
Next day, Trump was given 20 rousing ovations as he addressed South Korea’s National Assembly.
Chinese President Xi saw all this, and raised the bar ten-fold, unleashing the full armoury of Chinese 7-star hospitality and pageantry for the man who had spent his entire presidential campaign abusing and deriding China.
It included dinner inside the Forbidden City, where no foreign leader since 1949 has been invited to dine.
In return, Trump avoided attacking China’s human rights record, and proudly showed Xi a video of his granddaughter Arabella speaking Chinese.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) November 8, 2017
(I first heard Arabella, Ivanka’s daughter, do this on the set of Celebrity Apprentice, when she was just two years old. It was even more impressive then).
Trump also praised China for out-smarting America in business.
They don’t hear that very often, and certainly not from US presidents.
But it’s true, they have, and Trump’s made it clear he’s not going to make it so easy for them going forward.
Knowing the Chinese mentality a bit from filming a documentary in Shanghai a few years ago, I’d say this a very good strategy.
They respond well to a respectful carrot-and-stick approach, as indeed does Trump.
State-run broadcaster CCTV said after he left that Trump ‘has given China what China wants, which is that respect on a global stage as the other preeminent nation.’ That’s a highly significant vote of confidence in the world’s new most important relationship.
In Vietnam, Trump offered to mediate in the South China Sea dispute, and made encouraging noises about ‘fair and reciprocal’ two-way trade deal, both vitally important issues for Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
You can read more here.