Here are the US allies that have been caught in Trump’s crosshairs

Denmark on Tuesday became the latest country to be caught in President Trump’s crosshairs after he announced he was postponing a meeting with the country’s leader over a dispute involving Greenland, a semi-autonomous Danish territory.

The move is the latest example of Trump shattering diplomatic norms by lashing out at traditional allies, a tendency that has stunned foreign policy experts. 

{mosads}“I have either been a student of or a practitioner of American diplomacy and foreign policy for over 35 years, and in the course of that time I have witnessed time of extreme tension between the United States and some of its allies over policy positions, over personal approaches of the president at the time,” Nancy McEldowney, a former ambassador to Bulgaria under President Obama and now a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, told The Hill.

“But never over my entire career have I seen a U.S. president who was not only completely willing, but seemed to take great glee, in public insults, in obviously and intentionally demeaning ways of trying to tear down other heads of democratic states,” she added.

The unprecedented barbs have experts worried that the new dynamic could seriously harm Washington’s relationships abroad.
Trump, for his part, argues he’s doing what needs to be done to ensure the U.S. gets a fair shake from allies that he says have taken advantage of the country, most notably on matters involving defense spending and trade, and resolves tensions with historical adversaries.
“President Trump is restoring American leadership and strengthening alliances. NATO is stronger than ever under President Trump, and Allies are beginning to contribute more than they ever did under previous Administrations,” a senior administration official told The Hill. “He also forged an unprecedented relationship with North Korea, opening the door to final, fully verified denuclearization and creating the opportunity for North Korea to realize its great economic potential.”
Here’s a look at the allied countries that have incited Trump’s wrath since he took office.


Shortly after taking office, Trump reportedly berated then-Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over an agreement between the U.S. and Australia involving refugee resettlement.

“This was the worst call by far,” Trump reportedly told Turnbull during their Feb. 2017 conversation. When asked if he would take in 1,250 refugees currently being held in Australia — an agreement that the two countries made under Obama — Trump went on to suggest that Australia may be trying to send the U.S. “the next Boston bomber.”

The White House at the time attempted to dismiss the reports over the conversation, saying instead the two leaders “emphasized the enduring strength and closeness of the U.S.-Australia relationship that is critical for peace, stability, and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and globally.” 


Trump has at times had an adversarial relationship with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, lambasting America’s northern neighbor over what he saw as unfair trade practices.

The president excoriated Trudeau as “meek and mild” and “dishonest & weak” during their conversations on trade at the G7 summit in 2018 and threatened to withhold the U.S.’s signature from a joint communique from the meeting over the feud.

{mossecondads}Trudeau had criticized Trump days earlier, saying it was “insulting” that tariffs were placed on Canada under a rarely invoked law that allows levies to be placed on a country in the interest of national security.

“One of the things that I have to admit I’m having a lot of trouble getting around is the idea that this entire thing is coming about because the president and the administration have decided that Canada and Canadian steel and aluminum is a national security threat to the United States,” Trudeau said. 

The U.S. and Canada, along with Mexico, reached a deal in May to lift steel and aluminum tariffs as the three countries sought to push the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement, the plan they devised as a revision to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). 


Most recently, Trump has been embroiled in a days-long controversy involving Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen for shooting down the possibility of the U.S. purchasing Greenland.

The president first canceled his meeting with Frederiksen after she called the idea “absurd,” then doubled down the following day, saying her response was “nasty and inappropriate.”

“I thought it was a very not nice way of saying something. They could have told me no,” Trump told reporters at the White House Wednesday. “Don’t say, what an absurd idea that is.” 


Trump has had an up-and-down relationship with French President Emmanuel Macron, hitting him over his comments appearing to cast doubt on the alliance between the two countries and the trade relationship between Paris and Washington.

Macron drew Trump’s ire in November when he pushed for a “true, European army,” highlighting the potential threat of Russia and saying that the continent needed “to defend itself better alone.” 

“President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the U.S., China and Russia,” Trump fired back. “Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly!”

The president also threatened to slap tariffs on French wine and hammered Macron as “foolish” after he signed a digital services tax on tech companies making at least 750 million euros annually, a figure which meant U.S.-based tech giants like Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon would be included.


Trump has had a particularly tumultuous relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel since taking office in January 2017, hammering her over trade, NATO contributions and a pipeline delivering oil from Russia.

The president has repeatedly threatened Germany with auto tariffs, saying if companies like BMW and Mercedes wanted to sell cars in the U.S., they should build them in the country.

“They have BMW, they have Mercedes, they have a lot of very good cars that come in,” Trump said in March. “I want them to make them here. … If you’re going to sell them to the Americans, make them here.”

Trump has also gone after Berlin for what he says are insufficient contributions to NATO, telling reporters in April “they’re not paying what they should be paying. We’re paying for a big proportion of NATO, which is basically protecting Europe.” 

Most recently, the president has targeted Germany over a gas pipeline deal with Russia, claiming last month the agreement has made Berlin “captive to Russia” and urging NATO to assess the situation.

“I have to say, I think it’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you’re supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia,” Trump told reporters in July.


Trump has often lamented the U.S.’s responsibility to defend Japan if attacked, saying the alliance between Washington and Tokyo is uneven.

“If Japan is attacked, we will fight World War Three … with our lives and with our treasure,” he said in June, adding that if the U.S. were attacked, “Japan doesn’t have to help us at all” and “can watch it on the Sony television.”

Trump has also threatened Japan with auto tariffs, though it announced in May it was delaying any levies for six months. 

Despite his disputes with Japan, the president has expressed fondness for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, most recently applauding him after the G20 summit this summer in Osaka.


President Trump has repeatedly torn into Mexico, slamming it on trade but focusing much of his ire on the country over immigration. 

Trump has threatened America’s southern neighbor with tariffs over its alleged inaction in working to stem the flow of undocumented migrants in the U.S.

“People have been saying for years that we should talk to Mexico. The problem is that Mexico is an “abuser” of the United States, taking but never giving. It has been this way for decades,” Trump tweeted in June.

“Either they stop the invasion of our Country by Drug Dealers, Cartels, Human Traffickers Coyotes and Illegal Immigrants, which they can do very easily, or our many companies and jobs that have been foolishly allowed to move South of the Border, will be brought back into the United States through taxation (Tariffs).”

However, he later said any penalties would be “indefinitely suspended” after Mexico agreed to deploy its national guard throughout the country to help apprehend migrants and fight gangs, increase intelligence sharing and allow the U.S. to deport migrants seeking asylum to Mexico while they await their court hearing. 


President Trump feuded with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven last month after American rapper A$AP Rocky was detained in Sweden and charged with assault following a June incident in Stockholm.

Trump, who learned of the case from first lady Melania Trump and had discussed it with Kanye West repeatedly asked Löfven to intervene, and expressed frustration with what he saw as a lack of progress.

“Very disappointed in Prime Minister Stefan Löfven for being unable to act. Sweden has let our African American Community down in the United States. I watched the tapes of A$AP Rocky, and he was being followed and harassed by troublemakers. Treat Americans fairly! #FreeRocky,” Trump tweeted.

The rapper was ultimately released in early August and returned to the U.S.

United Kingdom

While Trump has bashed the United Kingdom over trade practices, threatening tariffs on one of the U.S.’s closest allies to rectify what he sees as an imbalance, he has directed much of his criticism toward the country’s handling of Brexit.

Trump hammered former Prime Minister Theresa May over the U.K.’s break from the European Union, saying she did not take his advice. 

“I have been very critical about the way the U.K. and Prime Minister Theresa May handled Brexit. What a mess she and her representatives have created. I told her how it should be done, but she decided to go another way,” he tweeted last month.

However, Trump has expressed fondness for the new prime minister, Boris Johnson, one of the most high-profile promoters of the Brexit movement.

Tags Donald J. Trump Donald Trump Emmanuel Macron French President Emmanuel Macron Justin Trudeau Kanye West Melania Trump Theresa May

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