A Donald Trump hangover for European leaders
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European leaders held “crisis talks” in Brussels Sunday night, to discuss how to respond to the election of Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE as President of the United States. They were unable to reach an agreement, and in fact the Foreign Ministers of Britain and France refused to attend. Some leaders may have more reason to regard Trump’s election as a crisis than others, however. 

Just as conservative American social media users are amusing each other by sharing lengthy montages of reporters, pundits and comedians laughing smugly at the expected Clinton victory over Trump, it can be amusing to review what European leaders said about Trump before the election.

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Some may feel vindicated, justifiably. British Prime Minister Theresa May measured her comments judiciously: "I take a simple view about the way I like to see campaigns being conducted. I like them to be conducted in a calm and measured way with proper consideration of the issues."

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban went much farther, praising Trump in July: "I am not a Donald Trump campaigner," he said in the televised speech. "I never thought I would ever entertain the thought that, of the open options, he (Trump) would be better for Europe and for Hungary.

"But I listened to the candidate and I must tell you he made three proposals to combat terrorism. And as a European I could have hardly articulated better what Europe needs."

Even stronger praise for Trump - perhaps surprising since it came from Ukraine — came from Viktor Baloha, a prominent Ukrainian political leader. In a public blog post in August, he said, “Our analysts, experts and ‘talking heads’ of the Verkhovna Rada want to seem clever, but do not notice that the Trump team is filled with an influential group of hawks. John Bolton and Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceLewandowski: Trump-Putin meeting advances goal of world peace Indiana has spent over million on cleanup of failed Pence family gas stations: report What really happened with the breastfeeding scandal in Geneva MORE are conservatives, Republicans who hold traditional views on foreign policy, in which Russia has always been a potential enemy.           

“In general, the Republicans occupy the pro-Ukrainian position. So, in case of victory, Trump will not ignore the opinions of the people.”

Other leaders may not be so happy with their earlier statements. French President Hollande may have some repairs to make after commenting this summer, “His excesses make you want to retch.”

But the booby prize goes to the Czech Finance Minister, Andrej Babis, who had the bad judgment to repeat on the literal eve of the election several of his sneering statements about Trump. 

In an op-ed published on November 8th, he wrote:

I do not support Trump, although some mistakenly compare him to me. All we have in common is perhaps just that we both went into politics from the business world. I also have a movement [the ANO or YES party], which unlike Trump’s, is a positive program for everyone. … From the beginning, we stood up only against godfathers and corrupt politicians, and it is to fight against them that we went into politics. For that reason, my favorite U.S. politician is Michael Bloomberg.

This follows Babis’ unflattering reaction last year to being compared to Trump: “The difference is that Trump went bankrupt several times and boasts about his property. I do not do either of those things.”

Babis is currently expected to dominate the Czech elections next year, and become Prime Minister. With this kind of hubris and error in judgment, however, he may fail the same way Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonOvernight Defense: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | GOP looks to reassure NATO | Mattis open to meeting Russian counterpart Dem pollster: GOP women have a more difficult time winning primary races than Dems Mellman: (Mis)interpreting elections MORE did. Is there an Anthony Weiner in the background, waiting to come out?

Durso is the Managing Director of Corsair LLC, a consultancy. He was a professional staff member at the 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission and the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Durso served as a U.S. Navy officer for 20 years.


 

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