Liberals and other critics of Trump fear that his approach is doing lasting damage to a foreign policy consensus that has endured for decades.
“He views everything that has been done sine [President Franklin] Roosevelt as a sucker’s game,” said Malcolm Nance, an author and former intelligence expert in the U.S. Navy.
Nance asserted that Trump saw traditional American allies such as Canada and Western European nations as “weak and ineffective.”
“He doesn’t see a value in cooperation or alliance,” he added.
Kudlow, during his Wednesday media briefing, played down the strains between allies. At one point, he compared the dissonance to a “family quarrel.” Asked if the criticisms voiced by May and Trudeau gave Trump pause, Kudlow responded, “No. Look, there’s always tension about something.”
In this case, however, those tensions are exacerbated by cooling personal relationships.
Trump is said by some close to him to have become impatient with May’s tendency to admonish him.
Macron launched an unsuccessful charm offensive earlier this year to keep the U.S. in the Iran nuclear agreement, visiting Washington in late April. His tone toward Trump has hardened since then.
There is also the danger for Trump that any discord at the G-7 could prove to be an unwelcome distraction as he prepares for his June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
Trump is clearly invested in the success of that event — the first ever meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a leader of North Korea — and will be eager to avoid any embarrassment in the immediate run-up.
To be sure, however, there are plenty of people in Trump’s base of support at home who will be unbothered by European or Canadian disapproval at the G-7, seeing within it evidence that the president is delivering on his agenda of economic nationalism.
“Fighting with the Germans and the French is hardly upsetting to American voters,” said Barry Bennett, a senior adviser to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. “It’s not a big risk for him.”
Others took a different stance.
“The view among some Trump supporters is that if foreign leaders are mad at the U.S, perhaps it is because he is putting ‘America First.’ I don’t really subscribe to that view,” said Mackowiak. “I think it is better to maintain strong relationships with your allies.”
The Memo is a reported column by Niall Stanage, primarily focused on Donald Trump’s presidency.