WASHINGTON — The president of European Council accused President Trump of trafficking “fake news” with Trump telling CBS that the European Union is a “foe” of the United States.
Asked before his trip to last week’s NATO summit if Russian President Vladimir Putin is a friend or foe, Trump told reporters, “I really can’t say right now. As far as I’m concerned, a competitor — a competitor.”
In an interview aired this morning on Face the Nation, Trump was asked who is “your biggest competitor, your biggest foe globally right now.”
“Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade,” Trump replied. “Now, you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe. Russia is a foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly. They’re a foe. But that doesn’t mean they’re bad. It doesn’t mean anything.”
“A lot of people might be surprised to hear you list the EU as a foe before China and Russia,” said CBS anchor Jeff Glor.
“No, I look at them all,” Trump responded. “Look, EU is very difficult, I want to tell you. Maybe the thing that’s most difficult — don’t forget, both of my parents were born in EU sectors, OK? I mean, my mother was Scotland. My father was Germany. And, you know, I love those countries. I respect the leaders of those countries. But, in a trade sense, they have really taken advantage of us, and many of those countries are in NATO.”
EU President Donald Tusk tweeted in response, “America and the EU are best friends. Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news.”
On the eve of the Brussels summit, Tusk advised Trump to be more appreciative of allies because the United States doesn’t “have that many.”
“Today Europeans spend on defense many times more than Russia, and as much as China. And I think you can have no doubt, Mr. President, that this is an investment in common American and European defense and security. Which can’t be said with confidence about Russian or Chinese spending,” Tusk said.
Trump landed in Helsinki today as he prepares to meet with Putin on Monday.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) told CBS in a separate interview that Trump’s priority should be securing extradition of all Russians indicted so far in special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing probe, including a dozen intelligence officers indicted this past week.
“Democrats and Republicans are free to fight among and with themselves, but that fight ends at the border. And I would ask the president to give some serious consideration: Your first request of Vladimir Putin needs to be, tell us which airport we can pick up the 25 Russians that tried to interfere with the fundamentals of our democracy,” Gowdy said.
“If you really claim you had nothing to do with it, then you should be as shocked as we were that your military was being used to impact our election,” he added. “Tell us where you’re going to extradite those folks, because an American grand jury indicted them for undermining our democracy.”
Trump told CBS, “I think that getting along with Russia is a good thing, but it’s possible we won’t. I think we’re greatly hampered by this whole witch-hunt that’s going on in the United States, the Russian witch-hunt, the rigged situation.”
The president said he “might” ask for extradition of the GRU officers charged with hacking the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff in 2016. “I hadn’t thought of that, but, certainly, I will be asking about it,” Trump added.
He said that “the DNC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked.”