After a particularly bad couple of weeks in Washington, President Trump did what any rich kid would do when he’s bummed out: He went abroad to discover himself. For a while, it really did seem to lift his mood. He got to meet the pope, pranked Sean Spicer by not letting him meet the pope (even after White House sources said that meeting the pope was “all he wanted”) and made friends with the now famous and beloved orb.
One of the more notable highlights of the trip came when Trump met with members of NATO. Trump’s history with the organization is a rocky one. He derided it as “obsolete” on the campaign trail before more recently calling it “no longer obsolete” — an about-face no doubt advocated by Trump’s foreign policy advisors and/or his favorite TV shows. Despite assurances from White House staff that Trump supports Article V of NATO’s charter (which decrees that an attack on one member is an attack on all and must be responded to), the president never addressed the matter directly during his visit. Instead, he publicly chided members of the organization for their spending. Also, he pushed the leader of Montenegro. Following this series of events, Trump concluded (as any normal human would):
Just returned from Europe. Trip was a great success for America. Hard work but big results!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2017
America’s growing isolation on the world stage has only gotten worse since Trump returned from his trip.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a speech in which she said:
“The times when we could fully count on others are over to a certain extent. I have experienced this in the last few days.”
“We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands, of course in friendship with the United States, in friendship with Great Britain, with other neighbours wherever possible, also with Russia. But we must know that we need to fight for our future ourselves, as Europeans, for our destiny.”
Newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron (who reached a remarkable milestone in geopolitics when he out-handshaked Trump’s dumb handshake), was more measured in his remarks. He said:
“Donald Trump, the President of Turkey or the President of Russia are of a mindset of power relations, which doesn’t bother me. I don’t believe in diplomacy of the public invective but in bilateral dialogues. I don’t let anything go. That’s how one makes oneself respected.”
After giving the metaphorical finger to much of Europe, Trump’s next potential move would kick the whole world in the shins. A continuing point of anxiety during this trip was the fate of the Paris climate accord. This historic international agreement to fight global climate change was ratified during the Obama administration’s tenure, and the Trump White House has yet to decide whether it would remain a part of it. While the Paris accord would continue to exist without American participation, its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would be hobbled by our inaction. Pope Francis himself gave Trump some reading on climate change as a way to urge him to honor this fight. But on the other hand, exiting would piss off Barack Obama, so there’s a good chance Trump’s going to do that. His official announcement comes at 3PM ET today from the Rose Garden.