Donald Trump’s D-Day Europe Trip Won’t Go Smoothly
Yet he just did it again. The Sun published an interview with Trump on Friday in which he again criticized her handling of Brexit, saying she wasn’t tough enough in her dealings with the European Union. “I think that the U.K. allowed the European Union to have all the cards,” he told the newspaper.
He could once more put May in an awkward spot on this trip. Trump told reporters this month that he might question May about whether Britain spied on his 2016 campaign. Britain, a longtime intelligence ally of the U.S., has already dismissed such concerns as ludicrous. GCHQ, the nation’s spy agency, issued a statement saying the claim should be ignored.
After his meetings with May, Trump will sit down with Macron in Normandy. Talks between the two have also proved treacherous. Before meeting Macron in France last fall, Trump criticized him for suggesting that Europe build a military counterweight to its adversaries. “Very insulting,” Trump tweeted. Macron was put off by the tweets and unsure of how to respond. Should he retaliate on Twitter, or let it go? He consulted his ambassador to Washington. “My answer was, ‘Do nothing,’” Arnaud said. “Because in a Twitter battle, Trump has an escalation dominance. He will say whatever he wants, while we have some decency on our side.”
Inside the White House, preparing for Trump’s trips has never been easy. Staff vie for control of speech drafts, and yet Trump’s instinct is to forget his whereabouts and speak to his core voters back home, who applaud his message that Europe needs to pay more for defense, a former administration official told me. A goal in preparing Trump’s various foreign speeches has been to deliver that message without leaving longstanding allies utterly offended, this person, who requested anonymity to speak freely about internal White House discussions, said.