President Trump “punctured any illusions that he was on a fence-mending tour of Europe, declining to explicitly endorse NATO’s mutual defense pledge and lashing out at fellow members for what he called their ‘chronic underpayments’ to the alliance,” the New York Times reports.
“On a tense day when Mr. Trump brought the ‘America first’ themes of his presidential campaign to the very heart of Europe, he left European leaders visibly unsettled, with some openly lamenting divisions with the United States on trade, climate and the best way to confront Russia. The discord was palpable even in body language. When Mr. Trump greeted Emmanuel Macron, France’s new president, they grabbed each other’s hands, jaws clenched, in an extended grip that turned Mr. Trump’s knuckles white. When the leaders lined up to pose for the traditional photograph at NATO headquarters, Mr. Trump appeared to push aside the Montenegrin prime minister, Dusko Markovic, to get to his assigned place in the front.”
Former Russia ambassador Michael McFaul: “In Saudi Arabia, Trump promised no lectures. But at NATO, he lectured our allies at length.”
First Read: “Two days ago, you wouldn’t have been wrong to declare Trump’s overseas trip a relative success. But after yesterday — the ‘push aside,’ critical comments about Germany, no firm Article 5 embrace by Trump, and no formal position on Russia sanctions (!!!) — the trip became a disaster.”