The president of the EU’s European Council has just delivered a burn of epic proportions on Donald Trump using Trump’s favorite communications method, Twitter. Donald Tusk, who has been President of the European Council since 2014 and was the Prime Minister of Poland before that, said of Trump, “with friends like that who needs enemies”. Tusk criticized Trump’s decision making and also turned cynical, “thanking” Trump for dispelling any illusions that the United States will offer a helping hand to Europe. Instead, Tusk said, if looking for a helping hand, “you will find one at the end of your arm”.
Here is Tusk’s tweet, which read in full, “Looking at latest decisions of @realDonaldTrump someone could even think: with friends like that who needs enemies. But frankly, EU should be grateful. Thanks to him we got rid of all illusions. We realise that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm.”
Looking at latest decisions of @realDonaldTrump someone could even think: with friends like that who needs enemies. But frankly, EU should be grateful. Thanks to him we got rid of all illusions. We realise that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) May 16, 2018
Tusk’s sentiments are certainly understandable, given that Trump does not seem to be understanding the EU is our ally and that multilateral agreements among allies are preferable to hasty, unilateral decisions whose consequences have not been fully considered, i.e. the kind of decisions Trump makes. Trump violated the Iran nuclear deal, leaving the EU, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom in the lurch trying to keep the deal together without the U.S. Trump pulled out of the 195 country Paris climate accord, making the U.S. the only country unwilling to be a signatory. Trump is threatening our allies, including the E.U., with tariffs. Trump backed out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on trade. Trump, against U.N. resolution, against the wishes of our allies, and against long-standing U.S. policy decided to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump complains about NATO and tries to undercut it. In general Trump is acting as if respecting our allies and cooperating with them has no value, which may come back to bite Trump when he needs the help of these allies.
According to The Hill:
A top European Union official slammed President Trump on Wednesday for his recent dealings with Europe, suggesting that Europe can no longer rely on keeping diplomatic solidarity with the U.S. …Trump broke with Europe by pulling the United States out of the Iran nuclear agreement last week despite the urgings of Germany, France and Great Britain. Leaders of the three countries, all parties to the agreement, pressed Trump to reconsider his decision. Trump has also hit EU members this year by imposing tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum. And he has regularly lambasted European partners in NATO for not spending enough on defense.
That a top EU official is willing to say publicly of Trump “with friends like that who needs enemies” shows just how much the relationship between the U.S. and the E.U. has degenerated because of President Trump, and also shows that Europe is not expecting that to change anytime soon, or they’d avoid making such statements publicly. Trump, with his notoriously bad temper, will certainly seethe over the “with friends like that who needs enemies” remark Tusk made about him, but Tusk’s point is a valid one no matter how much Trump may dislike it. Our allies can no longer rely on the United States to abide its obligations, keep its word, or support multilateral diplomatic efforts because of Trump. Increasingly, countries are now going around the United States to make deals, both on trade and diplomacy, with other countries, as the Unites States is becoming increasingly isolated and undependable, due to Trump. The next POTUS is going to have a lot of repair work to do with international relationships when they take office.