Democracy, Politics, Populism

Trump in London Is Like an ‘Elephant in a China Shop’: Europe Reacts to U.K. State Visit

Jun 5 2019

By Shane Croucher*  – Newsweek

The European media is keeping a close eye on President Donald Trump’s state visit to the U.K., which is preparing to leave the EU through its Brexit process and hoping to forge stronger trading links to America.

Trump has clashed with the European Union (EU) over issues such as trade, defense, climate change, and foreign policy, including the Iran nuclear deal, which he withdrew the U.S. from. He has also praised nationalists seeking to undo the EU, and enthusiastically endorsed Brexit.

The Spanish newspaper El Mundo described President Trump in an editorial published Wednesday as an “elephant in a china shop,” calling his trip “grotesque in diplomatic terms” and warning: “The Republican wants a weaker and more divided Europe and does not hide it.”

Another Spanish newspaper, El Pais, on Tuesday suggested that Trump had insulted the U.K. by intervening on political issues such as Brexit and the Conservative Party’s leadership election. It also called Trump’s attacks on London Mayor Sadiq Khan “intolerable” and beneath the dignity of his office.

In its report on events in London, Italy’s La Repubblica called Trump “dazzling” and said he “walked on the political ruins” of Prime Minister Theresa May, who recently announced her forthcoming resignation, defeated by her repeated failure to pass her Brexit deal in Parliament.

The French publication Le Parisien accused the president of pushing for a “brutal” no deal Brexit, while Le Monde decried that Trump will spend only a few hours in Normandy to mark the 75th anniversary of WWII’s pivotal D-Day landings by Allied forces.

Le Monde’s editorial on Wednesday talked of the post-war bonds formed between Europe, Canada and the U.S. that were founded in the D-Day operations, helping to shape the multilateral international order through organizations such as NATO and the EU.

“This link has now been loosened, and this order is disintegrating, largely under the destructive effect of the unilateralist policy of the Trump administration,” Le Monde wrote ahead of Trump’s trip to Normandy following the end of his state visit to the U.K.

An op-ed in Germany’s Die Welt, written by the publication’s foreign affairs editor, accused Trump and May of “gambling away the legacy of the D-Day generation” through isolationism and an undermining of the multilateral institutions to which both their countries currently belong.

German journalist Franz Josef Wagner wrote in a column for the tabloid Bild that Trump is a “cowboy” and that the Queen’s silence as she greeted the president “says more than words.”

Trump had already been savaged in an editorial published by Britain’s The Guardian newspaper published as the president arrived in the U.K. “Mr. Trump is a demagogue who represents a threat to peace, democracy and the climate of our planet,” The Guardian wrote.

“As elected leader of the UK’s closest ally, he can’t be ignored. But making him, his wife and four adult children the honored guests of the Queen risks legitimizing his destructive policies, his cronyism and his leanings towards autocracy.”


* Senior reporter for Newsweek based in London, covering politics, crime and world news. Prior to this he worked as an editor and reporter for International Business Times UK . He studied investigative journalism at the University of Lincoln, England, graduating with first class honors in 2011.


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