WaPo's Dana Milbank Goes From Ridicule to Silence

Three years ago, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank ridiculed President Bush for protocol indignities during a visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao.  Today, Milbank is silent.

On April 21, 2006, in a column entitled “China and Its President Greeted by a Host of Indignities,” Milbank wrote this about Bush protocol foul-ups during Hu’s visit:

“The protocol-obsessed Chinese leader suffered a day full of indignities -- some intentional, others just careless. The visit began with a slight when the official announcer said the band would play the "national anthem of the Republic of China" -- the official name of Taiwan. It continued when Vice President Cheney donned sunglasses for the ceremony, and again when Hu, attempting to leave the stage via the wrong staircase, was yanked back by his jacket. Hu looked down at his sleeve to see the president of the United States tugging at it as if redirecting an errant child.  [Remember the video of Bush tugging on Hu’s coat tail as Hu began leaving the platform in the wrong direction?]

Then there were the intentional slights. China wanted a formal state visit such as Jiang got, but the administration refused, calling it instead an "official" visit. Bush acquiesced to the 21-gun salute but insisted on a luncheon instead of a formal dinner, in the East Room instead of the State Dining Room. Even the visiting country's flags were missing from the lampposts near the White House.”

Milbank implied that the litany of protocol foul-ups was so damaging that it altered Hu’s mood in one-on-one negotiations with Bush.

“[H]u was in no mood to make concessions. In negotiations, he gave the U.S. side nothing tangible on delicate matters such as the nuclear problems in North Korea and Iran, the Chinese currency's value and the trade deficit with China.”

Three years later and we have a new president whose administration is setting new records for protocol screw-ups, most recently the bow that wasn’t really a bow (so says the White House).  Instead, it was a sign of respect (remind me what a bow is).

So, where’s the litany of criticism from the Washington Post and Mr. Milbank today?  How do we read his silence?


Three years ago, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank ridiculed President Bush for protocol indignities during a visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao.  Today, Milbank is silent.

On April 21, 2006, in a column entitled “China and Its President Greeted by a Host of Indignities,” Milbank wrote this about Bush protocol foul-ups during Hu’s visit:

“The protocol-obsessed Chinese leader suffered a day full of indignities -- some intentional, others just careless. The visit began with a slight when the official announcer said the band would play the "national anthem of the Republic of China" -- the official name of Taiwan. It continued when Vice President Cheney donned sunglasses for the ceremony, and again when Hu, attempting to leave the stage via the wrong staircase, was yanked back by his jacket. Hu looked down at his sleeve to see the president of the United States tugging at it as if redirecting an errant child.  [Remember the video of Bush tugging on Hu’s coat tail as Hu began leaving the platform in the wrong direction?]

Then there were the intentional slights. China wanted a formal state visit such as Jiang got, but the administration refused, calling it instead an "official" visit. Bush acquiesced to the 21-gun salute but insisted on a luncheon instead of a formal dinner, in the East Room instead of the State Dining Room. Even the visiting country's flags were missing from the lampposts near the White House.”

Milbank implied that the litany of protocol foul-ups was so damaging that it altered Hu’s mood in one-on-one negotiations with Bush.

“[H]u was in no mood to make concessions. In negotiations, he gave the U.S. side nothing tangible on delicate matters such as the nuclear problems in North Korea and Iran, the Chinese currency's value and the trade deficit with China.”

Three years later and we have a new president whose administration is setting new records for protocol screw-ups, most recently the bow that wasn’t really a bow (so says the White House).  Instead, it was a sign of respect (remind me what a bow is).

So, where’s the litany of criticism from the Washington Post and Mr. Milbank today?  How do we read his silence?