Paris Gourtsoyannis: Why Putin is the only person Trump respects

Donald Trump doesn't have friends '“ only competitors.

Donald Trump is not about to embarrass Vladimir Putin in the way he did with Theresa May (Picture: AFP/Getty)
Donald Trump is not about to embarrass Vladimir Putin in the way he did with Theresa May (Picture: AFP/Getty)

At the weekend, he dropped his latest bombshell, describing the EU as a “foe”. Given that he had just accused Germany of being in Russia’s pocket, trashed the UK Prime Minister’s Brexit strategy, and told Nato allies that he was ready to abandon them, we shouldn’t have been surprised.

You wouldn’t expect a New York property developer to be any other way. All of Donald Trump’s allies are in his inner circle.

If you haven’t come up with him, you’ve either already been cast aside or, more recently, you’ve cut a deal with the special prosecutor, Robert Mueller.

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That’s why it was fascinating to see Trump’s performance at his joint Chequers press conference with Theresa May described as “backtracking”, suggesting that despite his damning comments about her Brexit strategy, somehow a trade deal with the United States is still on.

Far more likely that he was just trying to get out of an embarrassing situation in front of the cameras, and that his ideological opposition to free trade as we know it continues.

Despite the humiliation meted out to May by the president, he was indulged as he attacked the press and promoted far-right tropes from a UK Government podium.

In Brussels, rather than hitting back at Trump’s demands for extra cash, Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made little of the president’s unprecedented and hugely damaging threat to pull out of the alliance, indulging him further.

Put aside any speculation about ‘kompromat’ or the outcome of the Mueller investigation into whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

With his winner-takes-all mentality, Trump only sees competitors. Right now, Vladimir Putin is the only person giving him a game. That’s why he’s the only person Trump is treating with any respect.