On travel restrictions, Trump didn't consult with European allies

It's an unfortunate staple of Trump's presidency: he and his team seem to have a real problem communicating with our allies.
Image: Heads Of State Attend G7 Meeting - Day Two
German Chancellor Angela Merkel deliberates with President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the official agenda on the second day of the G7 summit in Charlevoix, Canada on June 9, 2018.Jesco Denzel / Bundesregierung via Getty Images file
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By Steve Benen

Early on in his Oval Office address, Donald Trump seemed eager to not only announce new European travel restrictions, but also to take not-so-subtle jabs at our European allies.

"[T]aking early intense action, we have seen dramatically fewer cases of the virus in the United States than are now present in Europe," the American president declared. "The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hotspots."

This morning, as the fallout from Trump's announcement continues, European Union leaders said the White House failed to consult with its allies before making this decision.

"The coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action," said a joint statement from Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, presidents of the European Commission and European Council respectively. "The European Union disapproves of the fact that the U.S. decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation," they added. "The European Union is taking strong action to limit the spread of the virus."

It's an unfortunate staple of Trump's presidency: on everything from trade to climate to national security, he and his team seem to have a real problem communicating with our allies.

When Trump's presidency ends, repairing these ties won't be easy.

Update: A Washington Post report added this morning, "European officials strongly condemned President Trump's decision to severely restrict travel from Europe to the United States on Thursday, a sudden move that took them by surprise and that many saw as politically motivated. Of all the slights between Washington and Europe in recent years, the new travel restrictions represented a blow an order of magnitude beyond previous disputes."