Thanks to Trump, Americas worldwide authority is shot, or nearly so. This great country deserves better, writes Simon Tisdall
It is difficult for Americans to watch the presidential parody that is Donald Trump with anything approaching equanimity. But it is also hard for non-Americans long-time friends and admirers of the United States who look on helplessly from afar.
Reactions range from amazement and amusement to shock and dismay. How has this frightening travesty come about? What does it mean for the America we love? And what does it portend for a world accustomed to sensible, reliable, rational American leadership?
Every country has its political mavericks and clowns. But to put a shadow figure like Trump, a profoundly ignorant, self-obsessed narcissist lacking any discernible moral compass, in charge of the nations affairs looks like an act of collective madness.
Seven months after he took office, the situation has not normalised. On the contrary, it grows more abnormal by the day. Just look at Trumps aberrant press conference performance on Tuesday when, breaking his word of the previous day, he deliberately re-opened Americas most sensitive wound racial division and picked at the Charlottesville scabs until the blood gushed anew.
This reckless divisiveness, this shameless moral ambiguity, this historical know-nothingness, this thinly-disguised bigotry these are not the qualities one expects of an American president. This is not leadership. This is not change. This is not greatness renewed.
This unworthy man, and the far-right ghouls who cling to him, set a dreadful example for the rest of the world, from the very country that is deemed by many to be the ultimate symbol of justice, liberty and democratic governance.