President Donald Trump strode into the White House promising “not to be president of the world.” His supporters embraced the new “America First” nationalism; foreign leaders warned of American isolationism.
Since then, Trump has delivered on these pledges — shrinking the State Department’s diplomatic corps, pulling the United States out of the Paris climate accord, lecturing world leaders of NATO and threatening to “totally destroy” North Korea.
In his wake, Trump has left many world leaders battered and bruised. Some have fought back with a mix of strength, humor and perhaps desperation.
Here are 17 of the most interesting statements from foreign leaders about Trump in 2017.
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1. “Donald, don't be self-indulgent. Mexico has spoken, we will never ever pay for the #F--ing Wall,” former Mexican president Vicente Fox tweeted Jan. 26, expressing the views of many Mexicans after Trump told Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to stay home if Mexico won’t pay to build the wall.
2. “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted Jan. 28, a day after Trump signed an order barring immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries.
3. “The change in Washington puts the European Union in a difficult situation; with the new administration seeming to put into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy,” Donald Tusk, president of European Union, in a Jan. 31 letter raising concerns about Trump’s “worrying declarations.”
4. “My handshake with him – it wasn’t innocent. It’s not the be-all and the end-all of a policy, but it was a moment of truth,” French President Emmanuel Macron in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche newspaper about his white knuckled handshake with Trump May 25 before the NATO summit.
5. “The times in which we could completely depend on others are, to a certain extent, over. I’ve experienced that in the last few days. We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel to an election rally in Munich May 28, alluding to difficulties with Trump after meetings on NATO and the G7 summit.
6. “Make our planet great again,” French President Emmanuel Macron statement June 1 on the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.
7. “The Donald and I, we are winning and winning in the polls. We are winning so much! We are winning like we have never won before. We are winning in the polls. We are! Not the fake polls. Not the fake polls. They're the ones we're not winning in. We're winning in the real polls,” Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, impersonating Trump June 14 to a crowd of journalists and politicians at the Australian Parliament's Midwinter Ball.
8. “The Trump administration has shown its total weakness by handing over executive power to Congress in the most humiliating way,” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev Aug. 2 after Trump signed legislation that imposed limits on his ability to lift sanctions against Russia.
9. “He’s the opposite of Teddy Roosevelt. He speaks loudly and carries a small stick,” a former Mexican official, speaking about Trump after a transcript of a phone call leaked Aug. 3 to reveal the president had conceded he knew Mexico would never pay for a border wall.
10. “I was glad Trump was elected because he is a wake-up call for Americans, since there is always complacency here. When I talk about human rights problems in Russia, China or Iran, Americans are always dismissive, saying: ‘Well, we will never experience the same.’ I’d respond: ‘Are you sure?,’” Garry Kasparov, Russian chess grandmaster and political activist, speaking Sept. 14 on the “Trump-Putin Phenomenon” at MIT.
11. “It would be a great pity if this agreement were to be destroyed by rogue newcomers to the world of politics,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, addressing the U.N. General Assembly Sept. 20, questioning Trump’s authority to scrap the Iran nuclear accord.
12. “There has been a regression of U.S.-Cuba relations, as you have noticed by the unacceptable and aggressive speech by President Trump,” said Jose Cabanas, Cuban ambassador to the United States Sept. 21.
13. “I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire,” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in scathing statement Sept. 22, responding to Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea.
14. “The president of the United States has many powers — not this one.” Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s top diplomat, Oct. 13 in Brussels, charging Trump could not cancel the seven-nation Iran nuclear deal.
15. “You are the light in my world,” Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte sang in a love song at Trump’s request at a Nov. 12 gala before the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit.
16. “These sorts of actions push the situation to the extreme. This can end with a big catastrophe not only of a regional but also of global scale.” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, criticizing the Trump administration Nov. 23 for including North Korea on a list of states sponsoring terrorism.
17. “So POTUS has endorsed the views of a vile, hate-filled racist organisation that hates me and people like me. He is wrong and I refuse to let it go and say nothing.” Sajid Javid, a British Pakistani member of parliament, condemning Trump Nov. 29 for sharing three misleading videos that purported to show Muslims committing violent acts.
Stuart Leavenworth, Tim Johnson, Brian Murphy and Anita Kumar contributed.