Donald Trump likes to give off the impression that he is fully in control of everything that is going on in the White House but new revelations have shown that is far from the case.
A report published by CNN's Carl Bernstein states that when speaking to major world leaders like Putin and Erdogan, Trump was often so unprepared that he posed a danger to national security.
Trump was reportedly "outplayed" by the likes of Putin and Erdogan and then spoke in abusive tones towards principal allies of the United States, calling German chancellor Angela Merkel "stupid" and saying then British prime minister Theresa May wasDonal "weak."
Other leaders that were subjected to these verbal lashing from Trump reportedly include French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who were treated with the same hostility as Trump gave US governors over their handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to CNN, two sources confirmed that Trump's former national security advisers, HR McMaster and John Bolton, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House chief of staff John Kelly all believed him to be 'delusional' and incapable of dealing with foreign leaders and has shown virtually no improvement since taking office in 2017.
When speaking to controversial world leaders such as North Korea's Kim Jong-un and Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman, Trump would brag about his own personal wealth, intelligence and all of the "great" things that he has accomplished since he became president, also going as far as to lament the "idiocy" of previous presidents, adding that George W Bush and Barack Obama:
They didn't know BS.
Trump reportedly gets on well with Putin but the phone calls between the two were described as "two guys in a steam bath" as Trump appeared to be endlessly seeking Putin's approval and ignored policies and agendas, missing opportunities to talk about human rights and arms control.
Sources told CNN that Trump's phone calls with Putin were so bad that he was effectively surrendering the United States position of advantage they earned from the Cold War. The official said:
He [Trump] gives away the advantage that was hard won in the Cold War. He's given Russia a lifeline -- because there is no doubt that they're a declining power ... He's playing with something he doesn't understand and he's giving them power that they would use [aggressively].
Erdogan is also reported to frequently speak to Trump often bypassing normal National Security Council protocols and procedures to directly reach the president, with such alarming ease that it raised suspicions about Turkey's security services in Washington. Erdogan even managed to speak to Trump while he was playing golf.
One source said that Erdogan would 'take Trump to the cleaners' as the president was so uninformed and unaware of the situation in Syria and the Middle East that he couldn't engage in a proper conversation about policies in that area of the world. This was particularly damaging as Trump's decision to pull US forces out of Syria allowed Turkey to attack the Kurdish forces who had helped the US fight ISIS and therefore weakened NATO's position in the conflict. This is all said to be directly linked to Trump's inability to engage in a meaningful conversation with Erdogan.
A common theme of the phone calls to nations like the UK, France, Germany, Australia and Canada is that Trump likes to talk about himself and not the US and almost always finds a grievance. One US official told CNN:
Everything was always personalised, with everybody doing terrible things to rip us off — which meant ripping 'me' — Trump — off. He couldn't -- or wouldn't -- see or focus on the larger picture. With almost every problem, all it takes [in his phone calls] is someone asking him to do something as President on behalf of the United States and he doesn't see it that way; he goes to being ripped off; he's not interested in cooperative issues or working on them together; instead he's deflecting things or pushing real issues off into a corner.
There was no sense of 'Team America' in the conversations," or of the United States as an historic force with certain democratic principles and leadership of the free world, said the official. "The opposite. It was like the United States had disappeared. It was always 'Just me'.
Much of the report from Bernstein, who is best known for his work investigating the Watergate scandal, would chime with what John Bolton has said about Trump in his new book which the current White House administration has tried and failed to block from being released.