NATO is scrambling and “freaked out” about an upcoming visit from President Donald Trump. The unpredictable and erratic world leader has spent his first few months in office armed with considerable amounts of misinformation about the post-war government alliances.
According to Foreign Policy, the new president’s short fuse is no match for his “notoriously short attention span.” Staff is working to tailor the meeting to ensure no speaker will go over a 4-minute time during discussion.
Trump heads to Europe at the end of May for his first international trip, which will include a summit with the leaders of 28 other NATO countries. FP reports the staff seems more “on edge” than with any other new president and are hurriedly searching for “ways to make the staid affair more engaging.”
“It’s kind of ridiculous how they are preparing to deal with Trump,” one source told FP. “It’s like they’re preparing to deal with a child — someone with a short attention span and mood who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in in-depth policy issues, nothing. They’re freaking out.”
NATO expert Jorge Benitez admitted that even the briefest summits can be “way too stiff, too formal, and too policy-heavy” for the likes of Trump. Typically, NATO publishes declarations based on the closed door meetings. This year, however, they won’t publish anything. While some experts have said that the declarations would be invaluable to allies still trying to figure Trump’s policies out, they still refused.
Trump’s unpredictable policy flip-flopping and random Twitter meltdowns have left NATO jittery. In March, Trump met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and refused to shake her hand, staring at the floor instead. He also handed her a fake “bill” for what he said were “overdue” payments to NATO, though the White House denies the claim.
“People are scared of his unpredictability, intimidated by how he might react knowing the president might speak his mind — or tweet his mind,” one former official said.
Another NATO official admitted they’re “bracing for impact.”