A new report from the Wall Street Journal has found that President Donald Trump has been exasperating his own government’s officials by talking directly with other foreign heads of state without their input and without taking notes.
According to the Journal, the president has given out his personal telephone number to world leaders and has encouraged them to call whenever they feel like it.
However, this has created problems for American officials who are left in the dark about what the president is promising to other leaders.
“We never know who he’s talking to or what he’s agreed to,” one official told WSJ.
The Journal’s sources say the limits of this kind of diplomacy became clear when Trump thought his personal relationship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un would be enough to get him to dismantle his entire nuclear weapons program.
The other problem is that Trump may make promises that he cannot keep, such as when he vowed to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to completely withdraw American forces from Syria, only to totally reverse himself months later.
Foreign policy expert Richard Haass tells WSJ that multiple foreign officials have called him asking for help figuring out how to understand what Trump and his administration really want.
“I should have a nickel for every foreign minister who has asked me to help decipher and interpret this administration,” he said. “They just don’t know how to read it. It’s been a nightmare for ambassadors and foreign ministers.”