Donald Trump landed in Brussels on Tuesday evening and left early Thursday afternoon, and yet in that short space of time managed to offend almost everyone. He’s now in the U.K. doing exactly the same thing (and hasn’t even met the queen yet! Fear not, we’ll update this article if he hugs her).
Here are seven memorable Trump moments.
1. Würst possible start
What does the American president have for breakfast? Germans, it would seem. Angela Merkel will likely have choked on her rye bread on Wednesday morning when Trump used a breakfast meeting with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg to proclaim that Germany is “totally controlled by Russia” and lash out at the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.
“I think it’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you’re supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia,” Trump said in his opening remarks at the breakfast, which were broadcast live on television.
“So we’re protecting Germany, we’re protecting France, we’re protecting all of these countries. And then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they’re paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia,” Trump continued. “And I think that’s very inappropriate.”
Trump and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are reflected in a mirror at the U.S. chief of mission’s residence in Brussels | Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images
Merkel did hit back, though, saying: “I experienced the Soviet occupation of one part of Germany myself. It is good that we are independent today.”
Hours after his breakfast bashing, Trump had changed his tune. “We have a very, very good relationship with the chancellor, we have a tremendous relationship with Germany,” Trump said during a press conference with Merkel.
2. What’s French for clueless?
Trump (usually) gets on much better with Emmanuel Macron than with other European leaders and so it proved at NATO.
After the U.S. president praised his French counterpart for his leadership and their “tremendous” relationship, Macron began to speak in French to reporters. This prompted Trump to start to laugh and say that he did not understand what Macron said, but “it sounded beautiful.”
France’s President Emmanuel Macron arrives with Trump for the NATO summit in Brussels | Tatyana Zenkovich/AFP via Getty Images
Macron then switched to English, explaining “I just reminded everybody that almost one year ago you were present with your wife in Paris for Bastille Day. We have worked together for some 12 months now. And took some great decisions and we will continue to work together,” the French president added.
A reporter asked Macron whether he agreed with Trump’s statement claiming Germany is a “captive” of Russia.
The French president responded “no.”
3. Four is the magic number
Trump suggested Wednesday that NATO nations double the amount of their gross domestic product that they spend on defense, furthering his long-running complaint that the U.S. carries too much of the organization’s mutual defense burden.
“During the President’s remarks today at the NATO summit, he suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2 percent of their GDP on defense spending, but that they increase it to 4 percent. The President raised this same issue when he was at NATO last year,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.
A NATO official in Brussels said the U.S. president had been half-joking about the spending increase (which means he was half-serious).
4. Right, I’m outta here
NATO leaders were pretty shaken at this point, and then Trump threatened to walk away from the military alliance altogether.
On Thursday, he arrived late — and apparently furious — at the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s top political decision-making body, and hijacked a meeting that was already in progress with the presidents of Ukraine and Georgia. Taking the floor, he warned of “grave consequences” if allies do not quickly ramp up their spending, and threatened that the U.S. could “go our own way” if they do not meet his demands.
Trump during the NATO summit in Brussels | Christian Bruna/EPA
While some officials, including Macron, said Trump never overtly threatened to abandon NATO, others interpreted it as a clear threat.
“I told people that I would be very unhappy if they don’t up their commitments very substantially because the United States has been paying a tremendous amount,” Trump said during a rambling half-hour news conference later Thursday.
Asked what might happen if allies do not meet his demands, Trump said confidently, “They will.”
5. Brexit isn’t really Brexit
Before Trump had made the short hop from Brussels to London, he was already criticizing Theresa May’s decision-making on Brexit.
“I would say that you know Brexit is Brexit,” Trump told reporters at the NATO press conference. “The people voted to break it up so I would imagine that’s what they would do, but maybe they are taking a little bit of a different route, so I don’t know if that’s what they voted for.”
All smiles? Theresa May and husband Philip welcome Donald and Melania Trump to Blenheim Palace Thursday evening in Woodstock, England | WPA pool photo by Geoff Pugh via Getty Images
“I have been reading a lot about Brexit over the last couple of days and it seems to be turning a little bit differently where they are getting at least partially involved back with the European Union,” he said.
6. Stabbed in the front (with fancy cutlery)
As Theresa May was hosting Trump at a swanky dinner at Blenheim Palace, news broke of an interview Trump had given to the Sun in which he said May’s new Brexit strategy will “kill” any future trade deal with the U.S., backed her rival Boris Johnson for prime minister, accused the mayor of London of being weak on terrorism and said the whole of Europe is “losing its culture” due to mass immigration.
“I would have done it much differently,” Trump told the Sun. “I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn’t agree, didn’t listen to me.”
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump at Blenheim Palace| Pool photo by Will Oliver/Getty Images
He added: “If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the U.K., so it will probably kill the deal. Because we have enough difficulty with the European Union. We are cracking down right now on the European Union, because they have not treated the United States fairly on trade.”
Things had already started badly, with Trump arriving late, leaving the prime minister and her husband standing alone in front of the palace in silence for six full minutes before he finally rolled up.
On Friday, Trump said he’d grade the U.S.-U.K. relationship as “the highest level of special.”
7. ‘Fake news’ again
Trump said the Sun report was “fake news” when asked how he felt about criticizing his host. At a news conference at Chequers (which he said he’d heard about in history lessons), Trump said all the nice things he had said about May were left out of the article.