Trump administration officials like John Bolton, James Mattis, Rex Tillerson, and John Kelly were reportedly so worried about highly classified conversations the president was having with foreign leaders like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and former United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May that they were concerned he was “delusional.”
According to several sources, Trump was abusive with May, telling her that she was weak and lacked courage. While speaking with Merkel, another U.S. ally, he allegedly told her that she was stupid. CNN says that Trump was particularly rude to female leaders. A German official confirmed that conversations with Trump were “unusual” and “problematic.”
Meanwhile, he supposedly told Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un that he thought of himself as a “genius,” bragged about his wealth, and thought his predecessors were idiots.
With Putin, Trump apparently showed deference, shedding new light on the recent scandal that the president might have known about bounties placed by Russia on American soldiers. But it was his calls with Erdogan that were most frequent, with the Turkish leader calling at least twice a week. As claimed, there were standing orders in the White House to put him directly through to the president when he called.
With Erdogan and Putin, he reportedly said that both former President George W. Bush and former President Barack Obama weren’t as effective in dealing with foreign leaders, trashing both predecessors repeatedly.
“They didn’t know BS,” he allegedly said of Bush and Obama.
Sources also said that Trump was ignorant of history and didn’t prepare well for calls.
Though most of the comments were about aides who are no longer in the White House, insiders say there is little evidence that Trump has changed over time.
“The sources said there was little evidence that the President became more skillful or competent in his telephone conversations with most heads of state over time. Rather, he continued to believe that he could either charm, jawbone or bully almost any foreign leader into capitulating to his will, and often pursued goals more attuned to his own agenda than what many of his senior advisers considered the national interest,” CNN wrote.
Bolton echoed some of these claims in his new book, The Room Where It Happened.
However, not all conversations were negative. As CNN reported, “sources did cite some instances in which they said Trump acted responsibly and in the national interest during telephone discussions with some foreign leaders.”
Neither the White House, nor Mattis, Tillerson, or Kelly has responded to requests for comment on the reporting, which took place over a four-month period.