In the last week, John McCain died, there was a mass shooting in Florida, the pope was accused of covering up sexual abuse, and two of the president's close associates became convicted criminals. But over at the White House on Monday, Trump seemed preoccupied with a different crisis altogether: trying to figure out how to use his speakerphone.
He had invited a roomful of reporters and cameras into the Oval Office for a conversation with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto about a new trade deal, which, for one painfully uncomfortable minute, was just a conversation he had with himself. In a scene not unlike what happens during most calls with grandparents, Trump struggles to to figure out if he's got Nieto on the line, waging a small war on a piece of technology that's been around since the 1950s.
After Trump announces that he, "the president," is on the phone without acknowledgement from the other line, he starts pressing buttons, seemingly at random. A longing, unanswered "Enrique?" is then followed by a change in his physical demeanor: You can almost start to see the steam simmering from Trump's ears, his palms sweaty with rage.
Trump then turns to spouting off a few phrases that are basically incomprehensible, like "you can hook him up" and "tell me when," in an attempt to solve the problem. But finally he just resorts to commanding an aide to "be helpful" and some guy in a suit spends about three seconds pressing some buttons before Nieto is on the horn.
But for one deliciously awkward moment, we get to witness the most powerful man in America—who, by the way, loves using the phone—made completely powerless by a simple piece of modern technology. So go ahead: watch, rewind, and add "using speakerphone" to the already quizzically long list of things Trump doesn't seem to understand. And if it somehow stops being horribly embarrassing, you can always treat yourself to the transcript:
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