Putin and Trump Try “Soccer Diplomacy,” Things Get AwkwardPolitics Features Donald Trump
There are many more important things that happened in today’s press conference between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, most of which involved everyone trying to get Trump to say something even remotely critical of Putin and Russia, and Trump responding with the equivalent of “maybe they’re too awesome.” But I want to highlight a more trivial part of the meeting, if only for the way it encapsulated the awkwardness and absurdity of the entire affair. Watch Putin give Trump a soccer ball:
Putin: Speaking of football, Mr. President, I give this ball to you and now the ‘ball is in your court.’ All the more that the United States will host the World Cup in 2026.
President Trump then throws gifted soccer ball to First lady Melania https://t.co/ayZoKGvWxkpic.twitter.com/KL9BjrZBI7
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 16, 2018
I’ve included the longer clip here because the way Putin “segues” (that word really must go in quotes) between military strategy and giving away a soccer ball has to be seen to be believed. Here’s the actual translation of that moment:
”…so that we will be able maximize our fighting chance to get the ultimate success on the issue of Syria. And speaking about having the ball in our court…in Syria…President Trump has just mentioned we have successfully concluded the World football Cup. Speaking of the football, actually, Mr. President, I’ll give this ball to you, and now the ball is in your court.”
I just want it noted that at no point before the segue was the phrase “the ball in our court” mentioned, in case you thought it didn’t come out of left field.
So that was great, but then, of course, Trump stole the show by basically saying “Melania, take this,” and rudely tossing the ball into the front row. Which, as far as I know, may be some kind of huge insult in Russia. He already stumbled around like a buffoon in front of Queen Elizabeth, so he may as well pull a faux pas with Putin too.
In conclusion, the next version of the Ludovico Technique will involve exposing victims to a buddy cop movie featuring Trump and Putin.