Trump Takes Pride in Vexing Europeans, ‘Not Caring about Europe’
The US President keeps demanding that Europeans “pay up” America for their defense.
US President Donald Trump has given out a new tirade of accusing European countries of security freeriding and taking commercial advantage of America, while also declaring his pride in alienating the Europeans and “not caring about Europe”.
Since his election campaign rallies in 2015 – 2016, Trump has been going on about what he sees as buckpassing by America’s European allies in NATO, while also attacking the European Union for what he perceives as unfair trade practices.
The US President has especially been singling out Germany, lashing out against its trade surplus, the world’s biggest, its failure to spend more on defense as a NATO member, and its energy dependence on Russia.
Trump’s critical rhetoric subsided for a while after he and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker reached an agreement to avoid a US – EU trade war
Yet, in the fall of 2018, a poll found that Trump scared the Germans more than anything else in world politics, while German Chancellor Merkel acknowledged German – American friendship was under pressure because of Trump’s tirades.
The US President started 2019 with a new one, though, while answering reporters’ questions during his Cabinet’s first meeting for the new year on Thursday.
He not only resurfaced his unfair trade and freeriding accusations for America’s European allies but added his low popularity in Europe was proof that he was doing his job right.
“You have massively wealthy countries that have very low military costs because the United States… So they take advantage of us on military… They can easily pay us the full amount…,” Trump said, captured in an AP video.
“Germany pays 1%. They should be paying 4%…,” the American leader added, in effect reiterating his erroneous description of military spending discrepancies within NATO as dues to the United States, whereas the figures he mentions in fact refer to the respective NATO countries’ military budgets as a share of their GDP.
“Because I want Europe to pay… Other countries pay a small percentage of what they should be paying. So when I say, ‘I’m sorry folks, you have to pay up!’, I shouldn’t be popular in Europe,” Trump went on.
“So when I speak up… I mean, that’s why I got elected. Issues like that. Issues like the border. And it would be so easy not to do anything. When they say I am not popular in Europe, I shouldn’t be popular in Europe. If I was popular in Europe, I wouldn’t be doing my job,” he added.
“They did a poll, I was at 88%, and now I am a very low number in Europe. I don’t care about Europe. I am not elected by Europeans, I am elected by Americans, by American taxpayers, frankly,” the US President declared.
“We’re doing tremendous service to those countries and they should at least respect us. They didn’t respect us and that was the problem,” he stated, boasting he could become the most popular person in Europe if he wanted to: “I could run for any office if I wanted to, but I don’t want to.”
Only 10% of the Germans, 9% of the French, 7% of the Spanish, and 28% of the Brits saw Trump’s behavior in world politics in a positive light, according to a Pew Research Center poll published in October 2018.
Trump has repeatedly come under fire by critics at home for his attitudes towards America’s NATO allies and the EU, most notably, recently by his former Defense Secretary James Mattis who revealed he differed with Trump on the issue of “treating allies with respect”, and former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney who accused the President of ruining America’s relations with its European allies.
(Banner image: Video grab from AP)