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- President Donald Trump berated UK Prime Minister Theresa May over the phone on Friday, according to a report.
- The aggressive call came while Trump was traveling to Paris for a tense weekend meeting to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the World War I armistice.
- Trump also clashed openly with French President Emmanuel Macron during the trip.
- The battles with May and Macron are the latest example of Trump’s abrasive style when meeting international leaders.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May reportedly was on the receiving end of a tantrum from President Donald Trump, the latest instance of fraught relations between the president and some of America’s closest allies.
According to a report from The Washington Post, May called Trump on Friday to congratulate him on the GOP picking up a few Senate seats in the midterm elections. But May was subsequently treated to a verbal lashing, the report said.
Trump reportedly blasted May over Iran, the state of Brexit negotiations, and the US-European Union trade relationship.
Trump’s anger caught May and her aides off guard, The Washington Post said, despite the fact the prime minister has been on the receiving end of such behavior previously.
While the episode comes as something of a shock, especially considering Trump’s fairly cordial trip to the UK in July, the row is also part of a growing trend of Trump lashing out at allied leaders.
The Macron fight
In addition to berating May over the phone, Trump also spent an entire weekend in Paris feuding with other world leaders – particularly the weekend’s host, French President Emmanuel Macron.
A bromance that had already been strained by trade tensions appeared to completely fall apart after Macron suggested to French radio that Europe needs to build up its defense forces to protect against possible threats, including the US.
While the French president insisted the reference to the US was only to imply that Europe needed to rely less on the US, Trump launched into a days-long tirade against Macron and France.
The fight became more intense after Macron publicly denounced “nationalism” during a speech Sunday. Trump has repeatedly used the term to describe himself in recent weeks. According to The Washington Post, Trump took the comments as a personal attack.
Not the first time
Trump’s back and forth with European leaders isn’t the only time in recent memory that the president has clashed with the US’s closest allies during an international trip.
In June, Trump fought with a variety of theoretically friendly world leaders at the G7 summit in Canada. During those meetings, Trump held awkward meetings with a slew of foreign leaders, including:
- An encounter with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during which Trump tossed a Starburst candy onto the table and said, “Here, Angela. Don’t say I never give you anything.”
- A meeting during which Trump complained about immigration and told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that if the US were to “send him 25 million Mexicans,” the prime minister would be “be out of office very soon.”
- A battle with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in which Trump made him the target of an extended Twitter tirade before, during, and after the meeting.
While the fights add a layer of personal intrigue, they could also have some real world policy consequences.
The personal animus between Trudeau and Trump appeared to cause a delay in final negotiations over the updated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in August, while Macron and Merkel have ramped up calls for a pan-European defense force in the wake of Trump’s NATO skepticism.
While these spats are unlikely to undermine lengthy relationships, Trump’s brash nature could cause consequential shifts in how the world treats the US.
The next chance for international fireworks comes at the end of November, when Trump is scheduled to travel to Argentina for the G20 summit. Most importantly Trump is set to hold his first face-to-face meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping since the start of the US-China trade war.