A CNN report by Carl Bernstein based on anonymous sources alleges that President Trump is regularly unprepared and out of reach in phone calls with world leaders, in which he frequently intimidates US allies, and is surpassed by enemies, with people familiar with the calls that describe them. as threats to national security that would lose Republicans with more confidence in the president.
Senior US officials, including former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, former Chief of Staff John Kelly and former National Security Adviser HR McMaster, allegedly felt that Trump “represented a danger to national security of the United States “in his phone calls with world leaders and concluded that he was often” delusional. “
“Sources said there was little evidence that the president became more skillful or competent in his phone conversations with most heads of state over time,” Bernstein writes. Rather, he continued to believe that he could charm, confuse, or intimidate almost any foreign leader into capitulating to his will, and he often pursued goals more in line with his own agenda than what many of his top advisers considered to be in the national interest. “
Trump would reportedly hit his predecessors, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, in phone calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, who constantly “outwitted” Trump, and one source “likened the Russian leader with a great chess master and Trump an occasional checker player. “
Calls with allies were no better, particularly with heads of state such as former British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom Trump frequently called “stupid” and accused of being in the pocket of the Russians. in such heinous calls to the German government. She took “special measures” to keep them secret, Bernstein writes.
“[Trump] It gives away the advantage it gained so strongly in the Cold War, “by” giving Putin and Russia a legitimacy they never had, “a senior administration official told Bernstein, citing Trump’s decision to pull troops out. Americans from Syria as an example of “Give away the store” to Russia and Turkey.
The report parallels the allegations made recently by former Trump national security adviser John Bolton in his revealing new book, The room where it happened. Bolton alleges that Trump routinely used the White House foreign policy portfolio to pursue his own personal and political interests, sometimes at the expense of national security. Bolton also details cases in which Trump was willing to intervene in United States police investigations on behalf of Erdogan, who, according to Bernstein, has “the ability to get away with phone calls.”
The White House rejected the push from Bernstein’s report that Trump is not equipped to deal with world leaders. Undersecretary of Press Sarah Matthews said Forbes that Trump is a “world-class negotiator” and “has consistently promoted the interests of the United States on the world stage.” He added that “since the negotiation of the phase one agreement between China and the USMCA with NATO allies by contributing more and defeating ISIS, President Trump has demonstrated his ability to advance the strategic interests of the United States.”
Bernstein’s sources describe the calls as so damning that they would damage Trump’s reputation with both the public and senior Republican lawmakers. A source told Bernstein that the calls are “an abomination,” which would cause members of the Republican Congress to lose confidence in Trump if the full transcripts are released. Bernstein also wrote that sources said the transcripts and other documents on the calls, prepared by former NSC staff member Fiona Hill, could be “devastating to the President’s position with members of Congress from both parties, and the public, if it is revealed in great detail. “