The US President has taken aim at the EU, Russia and China in an interview with CBS.
“I think we have a lot of foes, I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us on trade,” Trump said in response to a question about the biggest global competitors or foes to the US.
“You wouldn’t think of the EU, but they’re a foe. Russia is a foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically. But that doesn’t mean they’re bad, it doesn’t mean anything.”
Trump went on to add that both his parents were born in EU nations but the union had been very difficult as trade partners. He also returned to his earlier criticisms of NATO nations for “not paying their bills”. Fact-checking by The Washington Post and Politifact found there was no such debt.
EU President Donald Tusk sprung into action on Twitter after Trump’s comments, saying the two parties are “best friends” and any suggestion otherwise is “fake news”.
America and the EU are best friends. Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) July 15, 2018
Trump blasts Germany
Another point of contention is the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Trump again attacked Germany for spending billions of dollars on the infrastructure which stretches from Vyborg, Russia to Greifswald, Germany. He has previously been critical of Germany’s involvement in the project, which he says will make them a “captive” of Russia.
“There is a lot of anger at the fact that Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars,” he said in the interview.
“You’re supposed to be fighting for someone and then that someone gives billions of dollars to the one you’re, you know, guarding against. I think it’s ridiculous.”
European nations including Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine are also opposed to the pipeline, which will see them lose out on the transit fees they currently collect on gas passing through their territory.
— Bloomberg (@business) July 15, 2018
Trump prepares for meeting with Putin
Ahead of his scheduled meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday 16 July, Trump said he had “low expectations” for his time with the Russian President.
“I think that getting along with Russia is a good thing,” he said. “But it’s possible we won’t.”
One possible topic of conversation between the two is the US Justice Department’s move to indict 12 Russian intelligence officers over alleged crimes in relation to Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. CBS journalist Jeff Glor asked Trump if he would ask Putin to extradite the officers but Trump said that hadn’t occurred to him.
Heading to Helsinki, Finland – looking forward to meeting with President Putin tomorrow. Unfortunately, no matter how well I do at the Summit, if I was given the great city of Moscow as retribution for all of the sins and evils committed by Russia…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2018
“I might,” Trump said. “I hadn’t thought of that. But I certainly, I’ll be asking about it.”
Later, Trump took to Twitter to predict that any progress made in his talks with Putin would be downplayed by his opponents.
Theresa May says that Trump told her to sue the European Union over Brexit: "He told me I should sue the EU. Not go into negotiation, sue them." (via BBC)pic.twitter.com/XWJXGlD7Eb
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 15, 2018
May: Trump encouraged me to sue the EU
Meanwhile, embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May says Trump advised her to sue the EU rather than enter into negotiations.
She told the BBC: “He told me I should sue the EU – not go into negotiations.”
Trump previously told the media he had advised May about handing Brexit negotiations but she had ignored his advice. May seemed bemused by Trump’s advice as she recounted it.
At a joint press conference, Trump said he hoped May might reconsider his advice at a later date.