The New York Times and Washington Post came to a similar conclusion in pieces on President Trump and European leaders: Re-electing Trump would be a bad idea.
The Post story, published Monday, is headlined “Europeans fear Trump may threaten not just the transatlantic bond, but the state of their union.”
“If the president wins a second term, officials said, the effects could be far more severe,” writers Dan Balz and Griff Witte wrote. “‘Damage has been done to the public view of America, and it would just be more profound and longer lasting,’ said Nigel Sheinwald, a former British ambassador to the United States.
“That is a temperate analysis compared to the dire view expressed by [Francois] Heisbourg [a French think-tank fellow]. “He says eight years of Trump in office could profoundly rearrange relationships at a time when there is already great uncertainty. ‘The U.S. will not simply be seen as an uncertain ally, but it would cease to be seen as an ally,’ he said. ‘That’s the risk.’”
At the Times, Trump’s power to instill fear and its usefulness as a political tool is all but gone in “Trump Once Said Power Was About Instilling Fear. In That Case, He Should Be Worried,” by Maggie Haberman and Michael Tackett.
“No president since [Nixon] has deployed fear quite like Donald J. Trump. Whether it is the prospect of a crime wave at the border with Mexico or nuclear war with North Korea, President Trump has persuaded his supporters that there is plenty to fear beyond fear itself,” Haberman and Tackett wrote.
“As president, he initially tried to intimidate some of the nation’s strongest allies, including Canada, Mexico, Britain, France and Germany, in trade talks. He demanded political loyalty from Republicans in Congress and drove several who bucked him from office, notably Senators Bob Corker and Jeff Flake. But as his presidency enters its third year, a less convenient truth is emerging: Few outside the Republican Party are afraid of him, and they may be less intimidated after the disastrous government shutdown.”
As a result, “he could well face a challenge for the Republican nomination in 2020, and congressional Republicans from swing states could begin to distance themselves from him,” Haberman and Tackett wrote.
China’s President Xi Jinping may be making so many concessions on trade he’s begun to worry about domestic implications, but “there is little evidence that [he], or any other foreign leader, is cowed.”
Yet, in Europe, “the leaders of the United States’ closest allies in Europe are filled with anxiety” as Trump prepares to deliver his second State of the Union address, Balz and Witte wrote.
“They are unsure of whom to talk to in Washington. They can’t tell whether Trump considers them friends or foes. They dig through his Twitter feed for indications of whether the president intends to wreck the European Union or NATO or merely hobble the continent’s core institutions.”
The next two years ”could bring even more instability,” Europe’s leaders fear, “as Trump feels emboldened, and they are filled with fear at the prospect that Trump could be re-elected. The situation has left the continent facing a strategic paradox no one has managed to crack.
“’We can’t live with Trump,’” one former German foreign minister said. “’And we can’t live without the United States.’”