During the 2016 presidential campaign season, Donald Trump constantly lied about America’s standing in the world. To anyone who would listen, he’d spew nonsense like, “The world is laughing at us.” According to a 2016 Washington Post article, Trump, as a private citizen, dating back to 1987 and then as a candidate, repeated that same sort of line 103 times.
Of course, then-candidate Trump would follow the America is broken and disrespected refrain with a line most of his cult like followers adored: “I alone can fix it.”
As Mediaite reported, Tusk went after Trump in his opening remarks, saying, “I feel at home here for many reasons, also because in Montreal, I didn’t hear anyone shouting ‘Send him back!’”
— Tommy X-TrumpIsARacist-opher (@tommyxtopher) July 20, 2019
Tusk then expressed some hesitation about commenting on “internal politics” in America, but he tried to explain his motives, saying, “It’s difficult to understand some facts, some words. And sometimes if you feel that something is totally unacceptable, you have to react. Despite business, despite interests, for me, values are much more important, sorry, maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I will never change my opinion here.”
Reporters also asked Trudeau about Trump’s racist statements, and he said, “I think the comments made were hurtful, wrong, and completely unacceptable. And I want everyone in Canada to know that those comments are completely unacceptable, and should not be allowed or encouraged in Canada.”
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On Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed the same sentiments: “Without question, I reject [Trump’s comments] and stand in solidarity with the congresswomen he targeted.” Other politicians from the U.K. also took the president to task.
Trump promised an increase of respect for the United States worldwide. But the lack thereof was based on a lie. If anything America’s prestige has suffered since his election.
However, if you measure respect in terms of fear or creating a global environment where people feel threatened, then Trump is your man. According to a Pew Research poll from earlier this year, nations that see America’s power and influence as a major threat has steadily risen under the Trump administration. In 2013, under former president Obama’s administration, only 25 percent of nations surveyed felt the U.S. was a major threat. In Trump’s first year that number increased to 38 percent and currently sits at 45 percent.
Additionally, as Pew points out, that increase is directly related to people’s “confidence in the U.S. president to do the right thing regarding world affairs.”
The definition of respect from a world leader should not align with an ethos straight from The Godfather. But, unfortunately, this is where we are.