'America the racist and pitiful': Columnist says Trump has turned the US into a laughingstock
White House photo by Shealah Craighead

On Friday, writing for The New Yorker, Robin Wright lamented that under President Donald Trump, the rest of the world has cemented a view of America as racist and incompetent — and the country may struggle to redefine itself even after he is gone.

"On the eve of America’s anniversary — our two hundred and forty-fourth — much of the world believes that the country is racist, battered and bruised," wrote Wright. "'Europe has long been suspicious — even jealous — of the way America has been able to pursue national wealth and power despite its deep social inequities,' Robin Niblett, the director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, also known as Chatham House, in London, told me. 'When you take the Acela and pass through the poorest areas of Baltimore, you can’t believe you’re looking at part of the United States. There’s always been this sense of an underlying flaw in the U.S. system that it was getting away with — that somehow America was keeping just one step ahead of the grim reaper.'"

However, he argued, Europeans are losing their envy for America, increasingly seeing it as a country with a corrupt and racist justice system and a culture that obsesses over the stock market as Main Street suffers.

"The Trump Administration’s ineptitude in handling the covid-19 crisis, as well as the President’s disdain for longstanding allies and international treaties, have compounded the damage to America’s image," wrote Wright. "A second poll, released last week by the European Council on Foreign Relations, reported that public perceptions of the United States are increasingly negative in virtually all of the European nations surveyed. In France, the country that backed the American Revolution and later donated the Statue of Liberty, forty-six per cent of the people polled said that their opinion of the U.S. has 'worsened a lot.' The proportion of respondents who still view America as a key ally is 'vanishingly small' — as low as six per cent in Italy."

America also suffered from a low global perception around the late 2000s, at the end of the Bush administration, and rebounded after the election of President Barack Obama. These gains have been wiped out under Trump.

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