Bogus WashPost Gotcha: Trump 'Bowed' To Receive Medal From Saudi King

May 21st, 2017 11:38 PM

At the Washington Post's "The Fix" blog, which purports to provide readers with meaningful "analysis," general assignment reporter Avi Selk has one of the more bogus "scoops" one will ever see — and yes, it's even dumber than the "scoop" about President Donald Trump's ice cream-heating habits "broke" earlier this month.

Selk is all fired up because he thinks that Donald Trump, after ridiculing President Barack Obama for bowing before foreign rulers for several years, has been caught "bowing" before Saudi King Salman.

This is so nonsensical and childish it makes me want to call out the ruler-wielding, hand-slapping nuns at my childhood grade school for special duty.

The "Trump bowed" brigade appears to be taking special delight in alleging that Trump "bowed" because earlier in his visit he most definitely did not — and it was noticed:


Reporters were just waiting for a pose of deference they could underline. There are people out there, apparently including the Post's Selk, who actually believe that the President's posture as he accepted a medal, seen in the following video clip, constituted a "bow":

First of all, it's obvious that Trump did not keep his legs straight and did not only move the top half of his body forward. If he had, that might, depending on its depth, meet the relevant dictionary definition of "bow." In the relevant diplomatic context, a bow is "an inclination of the head or body in salutation, assent, thanks, reverence, respect, submission, etc." Instead, Trump bent his knees slightly and kept his head almost upright as he moved his upper body sufficiently forward to enable the king to complete the awarding of the medal.

Good heavens. When someone else who appears to be noticeably shorter than the 6'3" Trump — readers may recall that the Trump-obsessed press also tried to create controversy over his actual height late last year — wants to put a medal around your neck, what are you supposed to do? Stand there like a statue so that the 81 year-old King of Saudi Arabia has to give you a man-hug just to be able to reach his arms high enough (if he even can) to get the medal over your head? Imagine the headlines and photos that would have generated. ("Stubborn Trump Embarrasses Saudi King!")

Those who want to see what a genuine legs-straight, upper body-dipping bow looks like only need to see the following video from 2009:

In early April 2009, then-President Barack Obama bent way forward, and only from the waist up, in definitely bowing to then-King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

The Obama administration futilely tried to claim that Obama's bow wasn't a bow, but a June 4, 2009 New York Times item ratified the obvious historical record:

On the first of a five-day trip through four countries, Mr. Obama was treading carefully, with every move being carefully watched in the Middle East. He exchanged a light embrace and a double-kiss with King Abdullah, but the president did not bow as he did at their first meeting in London this year in a gesture that drew criticism.

This is a good jumping-off, or bowing-off, point for getting to Avi Selk's pathetic fake-news writeup in the Post:

Trump mocked Obama for bowing to a Saudi king. And then he ...

After two weeks of what one The Washington Post writer calls “nearly unrelenting disaster of bad decisions and bad news,” Trump embarked on his first overseas trip as president to visit Saudi Arabia on Saturday. Some supporters and conservative websites exulted as soon as he stepped off the plane — quick to contrast it with a similar meeting at the start of Obama's presidency.

He did not bow to the king. Not right away, at least.

Obama's bent-waist handshake with King Abdullah caused one of the great furors of his first year as president. (Wrong, as seen above.)

... Understandable, then, that Trump's firm, vertical handshake when he greeted the Saudi king's successor was seen by many as “a lesson in American exceptionalism.”

But then, later that day: was that a ...?

... Whatever he was doing with the king, Trump appears to have left his Washington troubles only to walk into the same quagmire of diplomatic body language as so many presidents past.

The observations that this obsession is childish and a form of fake news were not made lightly.

Confirming both elements at once, Selk's post contains an animated graphic obtained from that paragon of journalistic fake news and fraudulent "dossiers" known as Buzzfeed. The graphic, which repeats endlessly, deliberately captures only the final moments of the medal exchange, with Trump having bent his knees as far as he was going to bend them, for the sole purpose of making what wasn't a bow look like a bow.

Cross-posted at