In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's unusual approach to policy.
As President Trump heads to Europe next month for the NATO summit and then a historic meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, his personal attacks on the European Union and other pillars of the Western order are overshadowing his own administration’s attempts to reassure allies that the United States still believes in the transatlantic project it has led since the 1940s.
During a private meeting at the White House in late April, Trump was discussing trade with French President Emmanuel Macron. At one point, he asked Macron, “Why don’t you leave the E.U.?” and said that if France exited the union, Trump would offer it a bilateral trade deal with better terms than the E.U. as a whole gets from the United States, according to two European officials. The White House did not dispute the officials’ account, but declined to comment.Margaret Talev and Toluse Olorunnipa at Bloomberg:
President Donald Trump left the door open to recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea, telling reporters that such a move would be up for discussion when he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin next month.
“We’re going to have to see,” Trump told reporters Friday on Air Force One when asked if the U.S. would accept Russia’s claim on the territory it seized from Ukraine in 2014.
Trump is scheduled to meet with Putin in Helsinki on July 16, and Crimea will be one of many items on the agenda, he said.Robbie Gramer at Foreign Policy:
The U.S. ambassador to Estonia, James D. Melville Jr., a career diplomat and member of the senior foreign service ranks, announced to friends Friday that he was resigning amid a string of controversial comments President Donald Trump made about U.S. allies in Europe.
Melville, who has served as a diplomat for 33 years and as ambassador to Estonia since 2015, was due to retire soon but said in a private Facebook post announcing his retirement that Trump’s behavior and comments accelerated his decision.
“A Foreign Service Officer’s DNA is programmed to support policy and we’re schooled right from the start, that if there ever comes a point where one can no longer do so, particularly if one is in a position of leadership, the honorable course is to resign. Having served under six presidents and 11 secretaries of state, I never really thought it would reach that point for me,” he wrote in the post, which was obtained by Foreign Policy.
“For the President to say the EU was ‘set up to take advantage of the United States, to attack our piggy bank,’ or that ‘NATO is as bad as NAFTA’ is not only factually wrong, but proves to me that it’s time to go,” he wrote, citing Trump’s reported comments in recent weeks that have unnerved U.S. allies.