Earlier today, Donald Trump tweeted out a claim that he spoke with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudia Arabia, who in turn spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin, ultimately resulting in an understanding that both countries will be cutting oil production to boost gas prices.
Sidestepping the deeply disturbing fact that the president referred to bin Salman—a man who had a journalist murdered and dismembered—as a “friend,” one can’t help but think that Trump should be far more focused on combatting the coronavirus directly.
Oil prices will rebound eventually, but in the short term, hospitals are facing dire shortages of necessary medical supplies. People are dying en masse, the profitability of massive fossil fuel companies is far from this country’s most pressing concern. Trump is, as always, more concerned with the profits of corporations than the lives of individual Americans.
Just spoke to my friend MBS (Crown Prince) of Saudi Arabia, who spoke with President Putin of Russia, & I expect & hope that they will be cutting back approximately 10 Million Barrels, and maybe substantially more which, if it happens, will be GREAT for the oil & gas industry!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2020
Now it turns out that Trump may have once again been lying to the American people. Bloomberg News reports that the deal alluded to in the tweet may not even exist.
After the president blasted out his tweet, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries convened a so-called “urgent meeting” at Saudia Arabia’s urging. The group which includes Russia wanted to reach a consensus on what would constitute a “fair agreement.” It appears they were blindsided by Trump’s claim.
According to a Bloomberg source “familiar” with the White House’s conversations with Saudia Arabia, there was much confusion within the administration in the wake of Trump’s sudden tweet. Staffers were unsure what he meant by it and if the numbers he posted were accurate or entirely fabricated. Were Trump’s tweet true, presumably his administration would have been informed about the details of the deal before he announced it.
Additionally, a spokesperson for the Russian government says the conversation Trump referenced never actually occurred and that the Russians have not reached any agreement with the Saudis to scale back oil production.
The problem with parsing the truth here is that the Kremlin’s reputation for mendacity is matched only by President Trump’s. Neither is reliable in any sense of the word. Regardless of who’s telling the truth, the world has again found itself batted about in a sea of confusion because the United States is led by a pathological lair uniquely unsuited for office.
Perhaps Trump decided to blast out misinformation to make himself look good or in the hopes of wishing some new reality into existence. Needless to say, this is an incredibly weak form of diplomacy that is more likely to backfire than yield the required results. Trump is too lazy to do the legwork of actually reaching an agreement with these nations, so he’d rather just claim a false victory. This is not leadership.