Weeks ago, many U.S. allies in Europe were living in fear of what newly-elected President Donald Trump would do with regards to the stability and safety of Europe.
Now, however, after Trump's inept, scandal plagued first months in office, people who spoke with Germany-based Politico correspondent Susan B. Glasser said, "The dominant reaction to Trump right now is mockery."
“People are less worried than they were six weeks ago, less afraid,” said one German government official to Glasser. "Now they see the clownish nature.”
“People here think Trump is a laughingstock," another German national confided to Glasser in Berlin.
He was echoed by Michael Wertz, an expert on German-American relations with the Center for American Progress, who said, "The Trump administration is becoming an international laughingstock.” Werz said that he was struck by “how rapidly the American brand is depreciating over the last 20 weeks.”
Diplomats representing U.S.-friendly countries all have been comparing notes on how to handle the president, who is known for his volatility, short attention span and thin skin.
“The president of the United States has a 12-second attention span,” said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg to a "former senior official" after an April meeting with Trump in the Oval Office. Furthermore, Stoltenberg said, the president seemed unprepared and ill-informed during the meeting, attempting to steer the conversation with NATO representatives to North Korea, which is not a part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)'s charter, since it is not located in the North Atlantic.
"Some of the reported preparations for the NATO session in Brussels this week suggest just how much the volatile-clown theory of the American president has now taken hold," wrote Glasser.
- NATO has downsized what was to be a full summit meeting to just a dinner on May 25 "to minimize the chance of a Trump eruption."
- Leaders have been told to keep their remarks under four minutes or they'll lose Trump's attention.
- Leaders have also been advised to present something to Trump that looks like a deal --
what diplomatic parlance calls a "deliverable" -- some tangible, if meaningless, offer to make the president feel like he's accomplished something special.
Former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile recently spoke to a group of largely German political and media figures. The main question among them was how long will it be before Trump is out of office. Will he be impeached?
“Well, people seem to think he’s just going to be removed. I don’t know,” Brazile told the group. She went on to say that he is the president and that he was elected and therefore she wishes him success for the country's sake.
“I want my president to succeed,” Brazile said, adding, “But no one is above the law.”