The US President has taken aim at the EU, Russia and China in an interview with CBS.

By Daniel Herborn

Posted on July 16, 2018

“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”.

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.

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.

“I might,” Trump said. “I hadn’t thought of that. But I certainly, I’ll be asking about it.”

The US does not currently have an extradition treaty with Russia.

Later, Trump took to Twitter to predict that any progress made in his talks with Putin would be downplayed by his opponents.

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.