We have now reached a point where world leaders are laughing in the president's face.
The humiliating moment occurred on Saturday during an Oval Office trade meeting between President Donald Trump, trade representative Robert Lighthizer, and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, head of the Chinese trade delegation.
Trump was asked how long "memorandums of understanding," a form of contract, would be in effect once agreements are made on trade between the US and China.
The MOUs would be "very short term," Trump said. "I don’t like MOUs because they don’t mean anything. To me, they don’t mean anything.”
Lighthizer had to step in and correct the president to the gathered press.
“An MOU is a binding agreement between two people,” he said. “It’s detailed. It covers everything in great detail. It’s a legal term. It’s a contract.
Not according to Trump, apparently.
"By the way I disagree," Trump interjected. "I think that an MOU is not a contract to the extent that we want."
That's the point at which VP Liu let out his chuckle, at the 54-second mark below:
I mean, can you blame him?
"A memorandum of understanding is exactly that," Trump continued, digging himself in deeper. "It's a memorandum of what our understanding is."
Lighthizer tried to wrap it up to everyone's satisfaction.
“From now on we’re not using the word memorandum of understanding anymore. We’re going to use the term trade agreement,” Lighthizer said. “We’ll have the same document. It’s going to be called a trade agreement.”
“Good, I like that term much better,” Trump said.
“We’ll never use that word again!” Lighthizer replied.
The laugh seen 'round the world.
Looks like we have to reset the "days without a national embarrassment" counter again.
Some people wondered if Trump's warped understanding of binding contracts could come back to haunt him.
There was that one now-infamous letter of intent Trump signed in 2016...
The best words and the best deals, eh?
Perhaps a retitling is in order.
Trump really really does not like being wrong.
So much for the art of dealmaking.