Outgoing French ambassador to the United States Gérard Araud was asked this week to compare the presidencies of Barack Obama and Donald Trump — and his comparison was not a favorable one.
In an interview with Foreign Policy magazine, Araud said it took him quite a while to get used to the vast differences between Trump and Obama.
“For an ambassador, you had a normal working administration with Obama,” he said. “People in the executive branch offices were able to explain to you what the president was thinking or what the president was going to do. And suddenly it’s the opposite. A lot of offices are still empty. It’s amazing—after 55 months, a lot of people are changing overnight. It’s the fourth G-7 [emissary] we’ve had in the White house in two years!”
He also said it was strange to go from Obama — whom he described as someone who “every night was going to bed with 60-page briefings and the next day they were sent back annotated” — to Trump, who “has a really big mouth and really reads basically nothing.”
Araud said that Trump’s approach to governance often stokes chaos within his own administration.
“Very often even the secretary of state is surprised by a presidential announcement,” he explained. “When there was the announcement on Dec. 19 about the U.S. withdrawal from Syria, nobody was aware of it, including the director of the CIA.”