Six top European officials spoke with Buzzfeed News on the condition of anonymity, revealing what it was like to deal with President Trump and his administration on a first hand basis – and it wasn’t pretty.
Here’s a variety of quotes gathered from their discussions, showing not only an ignorant president but one who’s not capable of gaining the respect of foreign governments traditionally considered allies of the United States.
On Trump’s Twitter tendencies:
“Trump could send a tweet in the middle of the night pissing off Kim Jong Un. And the next morning we wake up to a world on the brink of war.”
On Trump being a laughingstock in Europe:
“On one level, the officials said, he is something of a laughing stock among Europeans at international gatherings. One revealed that a small group of diplomats play a version of word bingo whenever the president speaks because they consider his vocabulary to be so limited. “Everything is ‘great’, ‘very, very great’, ‘amazing’,” the diplomat said.”
“He has no historical view. He is only dealing with these issues now, and seems to think the world started when he took office,” pointing to Trump’s remarks and tweets about defence spending. “He thinks that NATO existed only to keep the communists out of Europe. He has a similar attitude in Asia-Pacific with Japan, ignoring that the US basically wrote their constitution.”
Trump is obsessed with Obama, too.
“It’s his only real position,” one European diplomat said. “He will ask: ‘Did Obama approve this?’ And if the answer is affirmative, he will say: ‘We don’t.’ He won’t even want to listen to the arguments or have a debate. He is obsessed with Obama.”
Trump wasn’t capable of engaging in a serious discussion on Libya.
“He [Trump] just bombed us with questions: ‘How many people do you have? What’s your GDP? How much oil does [that country] produce? How many barrels a day? How much of it is yours?’”
“He’s not the kind of person you can have a discussion about how to deal with [Fayez] al-Sarraj [the prime minister of Libya],” the official added. “So you look for people around him, and that is where it’s a problem: The constant upheaval, it’s unclear who has influence, who is close to the president.”
On Trump isolating himself from the rest of the world:
“The White House lacks crucial expertise,” one said. “The State Department and others are isolated. You have the generals, the National Security Council, and then a void. There aren’t enough diplomats, experts etc. in the White House. [Secretary of state Rex] Tillerson has a small team. Does Trump listen to [James] Mattis [secretary of defence], [H.R.] McMaster [national security adviser], to the experts?”
On Trump mocking his own aides in front of other leaders:
“We can hear everything, it’s weird.”