- Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
- President Donald Trump had a rough week both at home and abroad.
- World leaders were caught on video mocking Trump at a NATO summit in London as House Democrats simultaneously took major steps toward impeaching him back in the US.
- In London, Trump publicly sparred on various issues with the leaders of close US allies like France and Canada, and received an awkward reception from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
- In Washington, legal experts testified to House lawmakers and made the case for Trump’s impeachment in relation to his dealings with Ukraine, portraying the president’s actions as a threat to American democracy.
- On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the House is moving forward with articles of impeachment, and it now seems to be a matter of time before Trump is impeached.
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President Donald Trump lost on two fronts this week with a disastrous performance at the NATO summit in London as House Democrats simultaneously took major and historic steps toward impeaching him.
Throughout his 2016 campaign, Trump repeatedly claimed that other countries were laughing at the US, making the case that his leadership would bring an end to that.
But at the NATO summit this week, world leaders were caught on tape mocking Trump and laughing at his expense.
After the video surfaced, Trump announced that he was cutting his trip to London short and heading back to Washington earlier than planned. But with his impeachment on the horizon, Trump was not exactly returning to friendly territory.
.@JustinTrudeau, @EmmanuelMacron, @BorisJohnson and other VIPs shared a few words at a Buckingham Palace reception Tuesday. No one mentions @realDonaldTrump by name, but they seem to be discussing his lengthy impromptu press conferences from earlier in the day. (Video: Host Pool) pic.twitter.com/dVgj48rpOP
— Power & Politics (@PnPCBC) December 3, 2019
Under Trump, the US is losing its historic position as the leader of NATO
Before Trump even arrived in London, he was warned by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to keep his impulses in check and avoid creating discord by commenting on the UK’s upcoming general election.
This set the tone for the summit, in which the allies made clear they are done playing nice with Trump. The meeting of global leaders also sent a broader message by the time it concluded: the US is losing its place as the most commanding voice in NATO.
As former US Ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns put it in an op-ed for The Atlantic: “The United States has always been the most powerful NATO member, and every American president until Trump has been the alliance’s natural leader.”
Burns added: “Holding a big alliance like NATO together takes patience, tact, a willingness to listen, deep knowledge of the issues, and the self-discipline to refrain from fiery public debate. In London, Trump proved once again that he is incapable of this type of presidential leadership.”
Trump was not taken seriously on the global stage
From the start, the summit was a rocky affair for the president, as he sparred with French President Emmanuel Macron in a lengthy, impromptu press conference. Macron fact-checked Trump to his face on the subject of ISIS, rejecting the president’s oft-repeated claim the terror group has been defeated.
In tense exchange over ISIS fighters, French Pres. Macron tells Pres. Trump, "The number one priority, because it's not yet finished, is to get rid of ISIS."
— ABC News (@ABC) December 3, 2019
Trump also got into it with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who pushed back hard as the president sought to chastise him on Canada’s defense spending.
“The president knows as well that Canada has been there for every NATO deployment,” Trudeau said.
Trump would later call Trudeau “two-faced” after the video of world leaders mocking him was made public.
In the video, shared with captions by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Trudeau seemed to mock Trump’s lengthy Tuesday-morning press conference with Macron that went somewhat off the rails.
“He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top,” Trudeau said.
“You just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor,” he continued.
Meanwhile, Johnson avoided being photographed with Trump. The British prime minister has in the past served as an ally of Trump and somewhat of a kindred spirit from a political standpoint. But as his country heads into a vital election that is directly tied to the fate of Brexit, Johnson is keeping his distance from his American counterpart – who is deeply unpopular in the UK.
In short, Trump was virtually friendless at the summit. Trump, however, has claimed it was a “VERY successful trip” – but then he cancelled a planned press conference meant to wrap up the summit and headed back to Washington early.
He returned to the nation’s capital to find Democrats moving rapidly toward making him the third president in US history to be impeached.
Democrats are rapidly moving toward impeaching Trump
The impeachment inquiry entered a new phase in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, as several of the nation’s top legal and constitutional experts made impassioned cases as to why Trump’s dealings with Ukraine make him worthy of impeachment. They excoriated the president for what they characterized as an effort to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election, portraying Trump as detrimental to the health of American democracy.
Pamela Karlan, a Stanford law professor who was one of four expert witnesses, said Trump’s actions “struck at the very heart of what makes this a republic to which we pledge allegiance.”
“Based on the evidentiary record, what has happened in the case before you is something that I do not think we have ever seen before: a president who has doubled down on violating his oath to ‘faithfully execute’ the laws and to ‘protect and defend the Constitution,'” she said.
“The list of impeachable offenses the framers included in the Constitution shows that the essence of an impeachable offense is a president’s decision to sacrifice the national interest for his own private ends,” Karlan added.
Less than a day later, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the House is moving forward with articles of impeachment against Trump.
“The president leaves us no choice but to act,” Pelosi said.
Trump has claimed he did nothing wrong, and dismissed the inquiry as a “hoax.” Regardless, considering the support for impeachment in the House, it may only be a matter of time before Trump is impeached.
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