John Bolton, who was the President’s National Security Advisor until last year, when he left his post in acrimonious circumstances, makes the startling revelation in the course of his new book, The Room Where It Happened. Mr Bolton, 71, also reveals Mr Trump told Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel the European Union was “worse than China only smaller” and treated the United States “horribly” during a tense meeting, a former senior Whitehouse official has said.
The controversial new book, which has angered Mr Trump, was published last week and documents Mr Bolton’s two-year stint working at the President’s side, including his meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Mr Bolton also documents Mr Trump’s attitudes towards Europe over that period – and his less-than-favourable view of the EU and some of its member states.
He describes a difficult meeting with Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, during Mr Trump’s “working visit” to the country in 2017.
Donald Trump told Angela Merkel the EU was “worse than China”
Donald Trump has little time for Jean-Claude Juncker apparently
He also used a line I later heard countless times, that ‘the EU is worse than China except smaller’
Mr Bolton writes: “Trump’s one-on-one meeting with Merkel lasted only 15 minutes before the larger Cabinet Room meeting, which he opened by complaining about Germany’s “feeding the beast” (meaning Russia) meaning the Nordstream II pipeline, moving on the EU, which he thought treated the US horribly.
“It was clear to me that Trump thought Germany was Russia’s captive.
“He also used a line I later heard countless times, that ‘the EU is worse than China except smaller’, adding that the EU was set up to take advantage of the US, which Merkel also dispute (in English, as the whole meeting was).”
John Bolton listens to Donald Trump speak in 2018
Mrs Merkel had also pleaded with Mr Trump delay imposing global steel and aluminium tariffs for three to four months to permit negotiations to get underway.
Mr Bolton writes: “Trump answered that he didn’t want to negotiate with the EU.”
Mr Bolton reveals Mr Trump’s contempt for Mr Juncker, the predecessor of current European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
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Mr Bolton’s book also reveals an awkward encounter with Emmanuel Macron
Mr Trump clashed with NATO secretary-general on the subject of funding for the alliance
In the run-up to the 2017 NATO summit, Mr Trump became increasingly indignant at the failure by many members, not least Germany, to pay the recommended two percent minimum of GDP into the alliance.
Mr Trump’s mood soured still further after a fractious joint press conference with NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg at the summit in Brussels, and things got worse when the two met in private afterwards.
Mr Bolton writes: “Stoltenberg tried to start over after the press left by saying he was glad Trump was in Brussels.
NATO member states
Emmanuel Macron, Jens Stoltenberg, Donald Trump and European Council President Charles Michel
“Trump was unappeased, saying that even the increases in NATO member defence spending that had been achieved were a joke.
“He was very unhappy about NATO and very unhappy with the European Union.”
Mr Bolton added: “NATO, he marched on, was very important to Europe, but America paid more than was fair.
“Nor was the EU spared, as Trump criticised Jean-Claude Juncker as a vicious man who hated the United States desperately.
Donald Trump also believes Angela Merkel’s Germany was a “captive” of Russia, writes Mr Bolton
“Juncker, said Trump, sets the NATO budget, although he did not describe how that was accomplished.”
Mr Bolton said Mr Trump returned to the subject of Mr Juncker later in his trip during a meeting with Emmanuel Macron, during which Mr Trump had accused the French President of “always leaking their conversations”.
Mr Macron had then asked him about what his endgame was in the trade wars with the EU and China.
Mr Bolton writes: “For the EU, he thought it would come down to the car and truck tariffs, likely to be 25 percent, and then went off on Jean-Claude Juncker, who, he believed, hated America.”