May 22, 2017 – European governments, preparing for a round of major summits with Donald Trump, are wary.
I spent much of the past week speaking with officials and cabinet ministers in Europe. All they wanted to talk about was Trump.
Here, in summary, are the most frequent remarks I heard from them, and from others in my travels, in rough order of frequency:
1. Trump is unstable, and we’re not going to count on anything he says or commits to.
2. Trump doesn’t support NATO or European integration.
3. Trump is actively encouraging racist nationalists in our country.
4. Trump is allied with Putin to bring Europe down.
5. There’s no doubt Trump worked with Putin to win the U.S. presidential election.
6. If Trump’s polls drop too low, he’ll start a war in order to get Americans to rally around him. (Opinions varied on whether Trump’s war would be with North Korea, Iran, terrorists in Nigeria, or an escalation in Syria, Iraq, or Afghanistan.)
7. How did you Americans come to elect this ego-maniac? (Others called him an infant, moron, ignoramus, fool.)
8. He’s another Berlusconi (or Franco, Mussolini, Salazar, Hitler).
9. We remember fascism. We never thought it would happen in America.
10. The world depends on American leadership. We’re very worried.
My overall impression: Anti-Trump sentiment is even stronger in Europe than it is in the U.S. If Trump expects his European trip to give him a reprieve from his troubles at home, he’s mistaken.
ROBERT B. REICH is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fourteen books, including the best sellers “Aftershock”, “The Work of Nations,” and”Beyond Outrage,” and, his most recent, “Saving Capitalism.” He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, INEQUALITY FOR ALL.