Trump will be having a meeting at NATO on May 25, and officials there are making accommodations for the U.S. president that are a bit unusual and highly embarrassing.
Via Foreign Policy:
“NATO is scrambling to tailor its upcoming meeting to avoid taxing President Donald Trump’s notoriously short attention span. The alliance is telling heads of state to limit talks to two to four minutes at a time during the discussion, several sources inside NATO and former senior U.S. officials said.”
All 28 member countries will be there, including the U.S. They normally organize within the first couple months of a new president’s term but this year’s meeting has been pushed back, putting the alliance on edge.
Previously Trump said that the 68-year-old defensive alliance was “obsolete” but he went back on that rhetoric in April by saying “it’s not longer obsolete.”
“It’s kind of ridiculous how they are preparing to deal with Trump,” said one source briefed extensively on the meeting’s preparations. “It’s like they’re preparing to deal with a child — someone with a short attention span and mood who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in in-depth policy issues, nothing,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They’re freaking out.”
Even with the shortened summit, Jorge Benitez, a NATO expert, says that Trump still will probably have trouble with it.
“Even a brief NATO summit is way too stiff, too formal, and too policy heavy for Trump. Trump is not going to like that.”
There’s another highly contentious point that is undermining Trump with NATO – he hasn’t even appointed any top posts for Europe, including key Pentagon positions, undersecretaries of state, an assistant secretary of state for Europe, or a new ambassador to NATO. Trump will be going to the meeting unprepared to work with the alliance in this regard. No one is there to manage the day-to-day affairs, and it’s leaving NATO completely in the dark.
“That’s where there’s a ton of panic in NATO,” a source told FP. “The United States put that issue forward, but it has nobody on tap who’s doing any sort of fresh thinking on that front.”
This isn’t the first time the world has heard of Trump’s short attention span.
A classified memo was leaked to Mother Jones several months ago revealing that Trump’s Presidential Daily Brief is being made far shorter than the daily briefing President Obama received – about only a quarter of the length. Apparently, Trump doesn’t want a whole lot of information and prefers to just see bullet points on a topic, even on matters of national security.
Typically the briefing book contains reports on three topics and can range in length – depending on the president’s preferences and how intelligence analysts best think they can get information across to the president. President Obama’s report ranged anywhere from 12 to 14 pages – Trump prefers his to be around three.
The New York Times reported: “while Mr. Obama liked policy options papers that were three to six single-spaced pages, council staff members are now being told to keep papers to a single page, with lots of graphics and maps.”
Even if he didn’t say it directly to the intelligence community, they got his message. Just before becoming president he again reiterated with Axios that he didn’t want things to be more than a page in length.
“I like bullets or I like as little as possible. I don’t need, you know, 200-page reports on something that can be handled on a page. That I can tell you.”