President of European Council Donald Tusk in Bulgaria: With Friends Like Trump we do not Need Enemies
“With friends like that, who needs enemies.”
That was how Donald Tusk, one of the European Union’s top officials, took President Trump to task on Wednesday, offering the latest look at how the Continent’s leaders are trying to come to terms with the United States’ shifting policy on issues like the Iran nuclear deal.
Mr. Tusk, president of the European Council, which represents the European Union’s heads of government, used 280 characters on Twitter not only to rebuke Mr. Trump’s head-snapping policy decisions but also to reaffirm the bloc’s commitment to its own agenda.
“We realize that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm,” Mr. Tusk wrote.
The sentiment behind Mr. Tusk’s tweet is not exactly new. It is an echo of remarks by other European leaders, like Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, who have long criticized Mr. Trump’s moves on the world stage as detrimental to the trans-Atlantic alliance.
Ms. Merkel has for months openly disagreed with Mr. Trump on issues like trade tariffs. During a speech on Wednesday to the German Parliament, she also said it would be wrong to cancel the nuclear agreement with Iran and called the decision to pull out of the accord “troubling news.”
Mr. Tusk’s tweet, however, was one of the more notable, public denunciations of Mr. Trump’s decision making by a European leader, as a series of moves on trade, Israel and other issues has increasingly put traditional allies at odds with the administration in Washington.
Mr. Trump’s decision last week to abandon the Iran nuclear deal — negotiated by Iran and the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — left Europe scrambling to preserve the agreement.
Mr. Tusk called on the European leaders of the countries that signed the agreement — like Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain, Ms. Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron of France, who tried but failed to talk Mr. Trump into not scrapping the deal — to reconfirm their commitment to the accord.
European leaders were also unable to persuade Mr. Trump not to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, a failure that weakens efforts to combat global warming. And Mr. Trump’s decisions to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the United States Embassy to the holy city were made despite European opposition.
A day earlier, Mr. Tusk wrote an open letter to the members of the European Council, calling for the body to “reflect on recent global developments.” He noted in particular “President Trump’s announcements on Iran and trade as well as the latest, dramatic events in Gaza.”
The opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem coincided with Palestinian demonstrations in which Israeli soldiers killed 60 protesters and wounded thousands of others — the bloodiest day in the Gaza Strip since 2014.
Megan Specia, NYT
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