Eppur si muove (“And yet it moves”)
Today almost four hundred years ago we remember the trial of Galileo Galilei. Galileo, the Italian astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher, and mathematician was tried for heresy. The reason? He believed and taught the Earth was not the center of the universe.
Galileo was not even intended for his profession. His focus upon entering the University of Pisa was medicine. Like many college majors today though his focus changed to philosophy and mathematics. Among other things, his work contradicted Aristotle that objects fell at a speed proportional to their weight.
He was a math professor at the University of Padua. There he developed a telescope that enabled him to observe lunar objects. He also discovered that the Milky Way was made up of stars. Following the publication of his research in 1610 Galileo gained acclaim. He became court mathematician at Florence.
Galileo was ordered to stand trial on suspicion of heresy in 1633, “for holding as true the false doctrine taught by some that the sun is the center of the world.” He supported the Copernican theory of heliocentrism. This put him at odds with church officials. They believed the Earth was the center of the universe based on the Book of Joshua. In that scripture, Joshua caused the sun and the moon to stand still. Galileo ended up with a commuted sentence which had him under house arrest until his death.
In 1633 the Roman Catholic Church was faced with an instance where provable fact got in the way of dogma. Four hundred years later we see the same with Donald Trump.
Mr. Trump spent his weekend playing golf with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He seems to think the world revolves around him. His son’s comments that being President is a step down is obvious when you consider his actions during a North Korean missile test.
CNN described the event for us.
The launch, which wasn’t expected, presented Trump with one of the first breaking national security incidents of his presidency. It also noisily disrupted what was meant to be an easygoing weekend of high-level male bonding with the more sobering aspects of global diplomacy.
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.
Mr. Trump is oblivious. A serious President would have escorted Mr. Abe to a private area. Aides would not be using their cellular phones as flashlights for briefing material. The dinner would either be postponed or canceled as events happened.
This was not George W. Bush finishing a story to school children. This was a person who was out of his depth and didn’t understand circumstances. Trump read through classified documents in a room full of people. He was also served by persons who also had no security clearance. The entire event happened within earshot of passersby.
In 2016, Republicans pounced (appropriately) on Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server. Now they are silent. North Korea did not launch a ballistic missile because the moon or tides mattered. They launched this weekend because Trump was meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister. The missile which landed in the Sea of Japan had an effect — on Prime Minister Abe.
Despite his first foreign policy crisis, the event had little meaning for Trump. He allowed secured documents in an unsecured area. Additionally, he still found time to go speak at the reception of two newlyweds who had “paid him a fortune.” It is clear this President still doesn’t realize his role in the White House or America’s in the world. He is still a used car salesman thinking he is the only game in town. Donald does not realize the world does not revolve around him. The media and his supporters may make him think so, but he is at best an amateur when we need an expert.
Like Galileo and the Roman Church, there are certain truths that exist. One is the world expects America to lead. Another truth is no matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, it’s still a pig. It isn’t a hard question to ask whether Donald Trump is a leader or a pig with lipstick.