Mr. Trump Goes to Europe…and Disgraces the U.S.

Donald Trump spent his recent trip to Europe lobbing insults, make-believe “facts,” and worrisome statements that even some of the usual Trump supporters have called a disgrace. We can only hope that “disgrace” adequately describes the damage that has likely been done by Trump’s behavior abroad.

As if Monday’s meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin (and the press conference that followed) wouldn’t have been troubling enough for the United States, before that meeting even took place, a few other Trumpian nuggets disgraced the United States this week:

The Disgrace of the NATO conference

Trump started off his trip by insulting U.S. allies at the NATO conference in Brussels. Grossly exaggerating the amount of energy Russia provides Germany, Trump proclaimed that Germany is “totally controlled by Russia.” In reality, natural gas is the only energy resource Germany receives from Russia, and it comprises just 20 percent of Germany’s total sources of energy.

Demonstrating his lack of knowledge about current NATO agreements, Trump pressured nations to increase their defense spending to 4 percent of their GDP, claiming that this was in accordance with a 2014 formal agreement. President Emmanuel Macron of France confirmed that according to the  agreement, the goal for each country was 2 percent of its GDP to defense spending by 2014, not 4 percent. Again citing false figures, Trump inflated the actual U.S. contribution, as well.

In a press conference, spouting wildly inaccurate dollar figures, Trump claimed “The United States has been paying a tremendous amount, probably 90 percent of the cost of NATO.” Though Trump later amended the figure to 70 percent, he was still grossly exaggerating. The United States pays more than its share, but our payment is only 22 percent of the NATO common fund – not 90 or even 70 percent.

Trump’s disgraceful visit to the UK

Donald Trump began his visit to the UK greeted by throngs of protestors. Even so, he remarked that the British “like me a lot.”

While in Britain (one of our closest allies), Trump gave an interview with The Sun, a British tabloid, in which he criticized British Prime Minister Theresa May for, among other things, how she is handling Brexit. Though the audio recording of the interview with Trump’s disparaging remarks was broadcast globally, Trump denied making the remarks.

May reported to the BBC that Trump suggested that she should sue the EU rather than negotiating with them. At another point in his trip, Trump described the EU as a trade foe of the United States, singling out Germany as an example.

Trump also openly criticized London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, saying he’s “doing a terrible job,” and blaming Khan for the terrorist attacks on London. He went on to proclaim that immigration is “damaging the fabric of Europe.” One has to wonder if Khan’s ethnicity has anything to do with Trump’s comments.

The president ended his trip to the U.K. by visiting the Queen. Photographs show Trump, during the Inspection of the Guard at Windsor Castle, awkwardly walking around and in front of the Queen, appearing to be unaware of the disrespect he was showing someone who is not only a queen, but a 92-year-old woman.

Donald Trump, United States President, doesn’t appear to have a clue about decorum, diplomacy, or, for that matter, how to tell the truth. It would be entertaining, perhaps, if it were just a reality TV host we were assigning those buffoonish qualities to. But buffoonery doesn’t play well in the company of statesmen doing their work. As some Americans continue to put spin after spin on his words and actions, the disgrace of Donald Trump continues to accelerate globally.

Trump’s UK visit ends in controversy ahead of Putin meeting | Channel 4 News [2018-07-15]

London Mayor Sadiq Khan responds to Trump | CNN [2018-07-13]

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