Donald Trump acted like ‘a drunk tourist’ on Europe trip that led Angela Merkel to proclaim end of US alliance
President took harsher stance against European allies than against leaders of Middle East in Riyadh
By Rachel Revesz, The Independent, May 29, 2017, 13:07 BST
Donald Trump was like a “drunk tourist” on his first trip abroad, which saw awkward handshakes with the French President, shoving the Prime Minister of Montenegro and causing German Chancellor Angela Merkel to declare the end of the US alliance with Europe.
A US State Department official blasted the “arrogance” of the President as he flew from Saudi Arabia and Israel to Europe last week.
“When it comes to diplomacy, President Trump is a drunk tourist,” the unnamed official told The Daily Beast.
Most concerning was Mr Trump’s vow to make a final decision on the Paris climate change agreement “next week” – a measure which 195 nations have already agreed upon before his election.
He was accused of undermining the international diplomacy when he took a tougher stance on the G7 than on Saudi Arabia, where he made no mention of human rights violations in Yemen and was feted with lavish ceremonies and received the highest civilian honour.
At a ceremony to celebrate Nato member nations’ strength after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Mr Trump said Germany was “bad, very bad” for its trade surplus and told off the 28 countries for “not paying what they should be paying”. He also refused to commit to upholding Article 5 of the Nato Treaty, and did not utter the words “all for one, one for all”.
Mr Trump flew back to the US with a $100 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia and tweeted, “Just returned from Europe. Trip was a great success for America. Hard work but big results!”
His trip led French leader Emmanuel Macron, with whom Mr Trump was seen gripping hands and gritting teeth, to announce that the handshake with the President was “not innocent”.
Ms Merkel declared to a crowd in Bavaria that Europe’s ability to rely on the US was “over, to a certain extent. This is what I have experienced in the last few days.”
Europe “really must take our fate into our own hands”, Ms Merkel added.
He also appeared to push aside Montenegro Prime Minister Dusko Markovic to stand at the front of a group of Nato leaders. Mr Markovic said the move was “inoffensive”.
The signalling of the potential end of the US-German alliance could be described as good news for Russia, which has so far been restrained by Nato from provoking further aggressions in other countries like those in Crimea.
Democrats railed against “missed opportunities” by Mr Trump during his first venture.
Senator Cory Booker told CNN that Mr Trump did not focus on the “core issues” like climate change, human rights issues or Russian “aggression”.
“Not talking about the real human rights concerns in Saudi Arabia, it’s almost like reducing America from the light and hope in the world to just a utilitarian kind of transactional relationship,” he said.