Donald Trump’s presidency has left such a wretched stench in Europe that it’s hard to see how Joe Biden will possibly bring America’s most powerful partnership back on track even in four years.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo postponed a final trip this week to meet with the leaders of Europe and NATO. Although the State Department suggested that the reason for his cancellation was for Pompeo to be able to focus on the move to Biden, European officials believe that America’s top diplomat found that no one wanted to participate in a leaving group.
Europeans have been walking a tightrope during Trump’s tenure, seeking to balance outright criticism of the President’s most damaging actions with not alienating the leader of the Western world.
Even before the revolt at the US Capitol last Wednesday, Pompeo was unlikely to be greeted warmly on his farewell tour. For several, the incitement of rioters by Trump was the last straw.
Trump was publicly called a “pyromaniac,” by Luxembourg’s foreign minister, while diplomats privately claim they “blame Trump squarely for the chaos in America since the election, including the Capitol riot,” as one did on CNN, reflecting others’ feelings in the same position.
“It was clearly not going to be a congenial trip, as many European institutions and diplomats are happily turning their back on the Trump administration. It’s no secret that Europe is very much looking forward to working with Biden,” said Tyson Barker, Barack Obama’s senior European analyst and former official of the State Department.