Reporter Chris Uhlmann’s commentary tearing into American president – a man with ‘no desire and no capacity to lead the world’ – reverberates to Washington
A savage opinion of Donald Trump’s presidency that went viral was delivered by one of Australia’s most seasoned political journalists, who is well known to viewers of the national broadcaster for his frank opinions.
Chris Uhlmann, the political editor of the government-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation, described Trump as “isolated and friendless” at the G20 leaders’ summit, and said his disastrous foreign policy had “pressed fast-forward on the decline of the United States”.
The analysis, delivered on the ABC’s political program Insiders, has been viewed thousands of times around the world, and astonished American political commentators.
This is something else https://t.co/546dIa4glH
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) July 9, 2017
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) July 9, 2017
Speaking on Sunday from the G20 conference in Hamburg, Uhlmann said Trump had shown “no desire and no capacity to lead the world” and was himself “the biggest threat to the values of the west”.
“He was an uneasy, lonely, awkward figure at this gathering and you got the strong sense that some of the leaders are trying to find the best way to work around him,” Uhlmann said.
“Where was the G20 statement condemning North Korea which would have put pressure on China and Russia? Other leaders expected it, they were prepared to back it, but it never came.”
Uhlmann said Trump was obsessed with “burnishing his celebrity” and had “diminished” his own nation to the benefit of Russia and China.
“We learned that Donald Trump has pressed fast-forward on the decline of the United States as a global leader. He managed to isolate his nation, to confuse and alienate his allies and to diminish America.
“[He is] a man who barks out bile in 140 characters, who wastes his precious days as president at war with the west’s institutions like the judiciary, independent government agencies and the free press.”
Uhlmann has been the national political editor of ABC news since 2015, and won a Walkley award, Australia’s highest journalism honour, for broadcast interviewing in 2008.
While he may not be globally recognised, he caused controversy in Australia in 2016 when he blamed the South Australian state blackout on wind power and renewable energy, even though scientists disputed the claim.
Uhlmann refused to apologise despite attracting complaints, and likened himself to a heretic being burned at the stake.
In February that year he also published an essay that said the “intellectual virus” of Marxism was destroying the culture of western society.
Uhlmann describes himself as a centrist and once ran for public office in the Australian Capital Territory’s state election on a ticket with the conservative Christian independent Paul Osborne.
He was reporting on the last days of the G20 summit in Hamburg, which has seen violent anti-capitalist protests on the streets and featured Ivanka Trump briefly taking her father’s seat at the conference of world leaders.
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