“I’ve never seen a president say anything as strange or counterproductive as President Trump’s harangue against NATO and Germany. It was disgraceful, destructive, and flies in the face of actual American interests,” said former Secretary of State John Kerry in a statement released on Twitter today. This was but one small part of Kerry’s comments opposing Trump’s publicly-aired complaints about our allies at the NATO summit today.

Kerry said that Trump’s first appearance at a NATO summit last year was a disaster, with this year’s summit performance lining up to be no better, and that Trump is apparently woefully ignorant of his predecessor’s respectful, effective work to encourage NATO allies to spend more on their defense. After all, it was in 2014, during the Obama administration, that the agreement was reached for NATO allies to increase defense spending to at least 2% of their GDP by 2024. Kerry wrote that “There’s a time, place, and manner for raising issues with allies, and trashing them on camera in a way that calls into question the alliance itself isn’t it. What was on display in Brussels today was not the behavior of a strong, principled, and wise leader. Enough. This isn’t good for the United States…”. According to The Hill:

Kerry, the United States’ top diplomat for President Obama’s second term, issued a blistering statement on Twitter condemning Trump’s remarks to NATO members at the summit in Brussels, Belgium, calling them “strange” and “counterproductive.” “I’ve never seen a president say anything as strange or counterproductive as President Trump’s harangue against NATO and Germany. It was disgraceful, destructive, and flies in the face of actual American interests,” Kerry said. “Why would an American president whose first NATO meeting last year was a disaster, show up in Belgium this year just to prove he doesn’t understand how vital alliances have made a huge difference for the security of the United States and the lives of Europeans?”

Here is Kerry’s tweet with the full text of his statement:

Even the NATO-related statement of Trump’s Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, shows a completely different, more respectful tone than Trump’s. Pompeo in a tweet said that it is important that the NATO allies be “cohesive”, yet President Trump’s disrespectful rhetoric and behavior concerning those allies undermines the alliance’s cohesiveness. Pompeo tweeted, “.@NATO is the most successful alliance in history. All #NATO allies have committed to extending this success through increased defense spending, deterrence and defense, and fighting terrorism. Weakness provokes; strength and cohesion protects. This remains our bedrock belief.” However, without Trump being on board with maintaining a respectful, diplomatic interaction, it makes the words of others in his administration ring hollow even if they do try to be respectful.

President Trump just can’t seem to behave like an adult, where there are certain standards of behavior, like being respectful, showing impulse control, reining in one’s temper, and considering other people’s opinions as being just as valid as your own. Instead Trump is angry, petulant, impulsive, lashing out at anyone who doesn’t fall in line with his agenda, lashing out not just with words but with threats.

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