Trump is round the bend, and it’s nothing to do with his odd behavior. Let’s imagine a perfectly feasible conversation in the White House.
Sean Spicer: ‘Mr President, we need to talk about China. Companies there are still determined to use your trademark.’
Mr Trump: ‘What kind of companies? Are we suing?”
‘That’s not the plural of suing, Sean.’
‘Toilets companies, sir. You are being linked with u-bends.’
‘Are they alt-right too?’
“No, Mr President. Let’s start again. A Chinese toilet company is using your name.’
‘Is Wikileaks involved?”
The company in question is Trump toilets in Shenzhen. They first adopted the name because the ‘u’ in Trump apparently makes a great logo as a both toilet seat and U bend. The company manufactures high-tech bowls used, it’s boasted, by party cadres in China’s leadership compound at Zhongnanhai. It’s effectively China’s White House, HQ for the Communist Party. Mr Xi may have wiped the floor with Mr Trump on their diplomatic stand-off over Taiwan, but Mr Trump is dominating other wiping in the seat of power.
The trademark issue has bedeviled Trump in China, until a recent ruling which looks like it will mean he has rights to his own name here. We could mention the timing of this decision but let’s hold that in. Despite the ruling, Trump toilets is defiant. The company has been reported as saying it will continue to defend its display of the word Trump, asserting the choice is to do with its logo-worthiness and nothing to do with the US president.
So what might happen if President Trump put on Weibo a version of his famous tweet?
SEE YOU IN COURT
If this went from social media to court, it could have knock-on effects – like a new nickname, that would annoy him. He’s already known as a Paper Tiger, after backing down on the One-China policy, a diplomatic deal-breaker for Beijing in which any country wanting diplomatic relations with China has no official ties with Taiwan. By specifically challenging a lavatorial company, Trump risks becoming a Toilet Paper Tiger.
Or, could this all lead to more yet significant events? Trump condemned the US’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where his controversial travel ban encountered a few difficulties – but if he saw China’s legal system, he might realize the Ninth back home is not so bad. New respect for US justice?
Or, if he were to love the murky Chinese legal system, to admire the lack of order and transparency, what then? If he moved to China – after an unlucky four years at the helm of the USA or sooner – a warm welcome would surely await him among Chinese leaders. ‘He’s one of us! He wants to silence the press, and condemns dissenters! Hey, get the fancy toilet guy a passport!’
Beyond the circles of power in Beijing, Trump is also a natural cultural fit. China is finally getting rid of Chinglish – bad English by someone who neither speaks nor writes the language well but is too proud to admit it.
Cue Trumplish. Bad English by someone who neither speaks nor writes the language well but is too proud to admit it. China could at least have freedom of bad speech. He might even persuade the Chinese government to allow Twitter in China. Good!
If Trump toilets, u-bends and all, survive any further legal challenge, who knows where they will be installed.
The ladies and gents of Western media organisations might well be interested in a job lot. Or maybe we shouldn’t go there.