The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

61 not-very-positive things foreign leaders have said about Donald Trump

(Amy King/The Washington Post; AP; iStock)

Generally, foreign leaders don't criticize other nation's electoral candidates. The logic is simple: This person might win and you don't want your witty insult from a year prior hanging over you if you have to work together. This tradition hasn't continued with Donald Trump. A range of foreign leaders past and present have publicly expressed doubts about Trump and his proposals; others have spoken off the record to more candidly explain their angst at the thought of a President Donald Trump.

  1. "Mr Trump is so stupid, my God!" Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
  2. “Divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong.” Former British prime minister David Cameron on Trump's proposed Muslim travel ban.
  3. “He changes opinions like the rest of us change underwear." Danish Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen.
  4. “His discourse is so dumb, so basic." Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa.
  5. “That’s the way Mussolini arrived and the way Hitler arrived.” Mexican President Enrique Peña on Trump's rhetoric.
  6. "Trump is an irrational type." Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei.
  7. "Yes [the election of Donald Trump would be dangerous]. [It] would complicate relations between Europe and the United States." French President Francois Hollande.
  8. "You [Trump] are a disgrace not only to the GOP but to all America. Withdraw from the U.S. presidential race as you will never win." Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Alsaud.
  9. "I can only hope that the election campaign in the USA does not lack the perception of reality." Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Trump's use of the "America first" slogan.
  10. “Mr. Trump’s statement only serves to show not only his insensitivity, but also his ignorance about Pakistan.” Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudry Nisar Ali Khan after Trump demanded the release of a doctor who helped the CIA hunt down Osama bin Laden in 2011.
  11. “For the life of me, I cannot believe that a country like the United States can afford to have someone as president who simply says, ‘These people are not going to be allowed to come to the United States.' " Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former ambassador to the U.S., on Trump's proposed Muslim ban.
  12. “Let's be clear, Donald Trump is an idiot. I have tried to find different, perhaps more parliamentary adjectives to describe him but none was clear enough. He is an idiot." Gavin Newlands, a British MP with the Scottish National Party
  13. “Scary. That’s how we view Trump [...] Could we depend on the United States? We don’t know. I can’t tell you how the unpredictability we are seeing scares us.” An unnamed ambassador whose country has a close relationship with Washington.
  14. “If he becomes president it would be a catastrophe. He’s an avowed admirer of Vladimir Putin and it would be a disaster for international politics if Trump gets anywhere near the nuclear button." Søren Espersen, a foreign affairs spokesperson for the far right Danish People's Party.
  15. “When an apple’s red, it is red. When you say ignorant things, you’re ignorant." Mexico’s top diplomat, Foreign Affairs Secretary Claudia Ruiz Massieu.
  16. "I consider Donald Trump a man who invests a lot in a policy of fear." Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
  17. "I think the Donald Trump phenomenon is a real problem for the United States, making their democracy look kind of weird." Christopher Pyne, minister for industry, innovation and science in the Australian government.
  18. "Whether Donald Trump, Marine le Pen or Geert Wilders — all these right-wing populists are not only a threat to peace and social cohesion, but also to economic development." Germany's Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel.
  19. "Seriously, have you ever heard me say something like that?" French far right politician Marine Le Pen on Trump's proposal to ban foreign Muslims from entry to the United States.
  20. “Given his positions, do we even want to have anything to do with this guy?” An unnamed European ambassador.
  21. “If he becomes president, it will be a disaster.” Former Danish foreign minister Martin Lidegaard.
  22. "[Trump has] no regard for alliances at all." Former Australian ambassador to the U.S. Kim Beazley.
  23. "You listen to him at the debates and what he says is unsettling — he is promising to change things from one day to the next. A lot of us thought he couldn’t possibly be the nominee [...] The uncertainty is very, very scary.” An unnamed European ambassador.
  24. "Donald Trump's ignorant view of Islam could make both our countries less safe: It risks alienating mainstream Muslims around the world and plays into the hands of the extremists." London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
  25. "Donald Trump's remarks are totally absurd and illogical." Ri Jong Ryul, deputy-director general of the Institute of International Studies in North Korea, after Trump suggested that Japan and South Korea arm themselves with nuclear weapons.
  26. "He is very good at making speeches, but as a politician and a world leader? No, I don’t think that’s a very good idea.” Jimmie Akesson, leader of the far right Sweden Democrats
  27. “Some of the claims made during the campaign have been empty or just wrong." Peter Westmacott, former British ambassador to the United States.
  28. “A person who thinks only about building walls — wherever they may be — and not building bridges, is not Christian." Pope Francis.
  29. “The orange prince of American self-publicity.” Marcus Fysh, British MP with the Conservative Party.
  30. “If Trump beats Hillary, that means that the scenario of the clash of civilizations created by Samuel will come to light at the hands of the candidate and [Islamic State leader] al-Baghdadi.” Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan bin Tamim, head of general security for the Emirate of Dubai.
  31. "So Donald Trump … is ambitious but not exactly a very well-informed man, I don't want to say ignorant, but he is not very well informed." Former Mexican president Felipe Calderon
  32. "The comments made are unacceptable.” Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny on Trump's Muslim travel ban.
  33. "If he met one or two of my constituents in one of the many excellent pubs in my constituency, they may well tell him he is a wazzock." Victoria Atkins, British MP with the Conservative Party.
  34. “In the past when candidates said extreme things, there always has been some seasoned, experienced adviser you could talk to, or who would speak out to soften what was said. This is not the case with Trump.” Unnamed ambassador from South America.
  35. "The person you are dealing with may be a successful businessman, but he's also a buffoon." Gavin Robinson, a British MP from Northern Ireland who represents the Democratic Unionist Party.
  36. “Trump’s remarks do not show a sense of introspection on what their results would bring about; he does not know the gravity of what he says.” South Korea's vice foreign minister Choi Young-jin.
  37. "[A Trump presidency would be] a disaster for E.U.-U.S. ties." An unnamed senior E.U. official.
  38. "If Donald Trump was to end up as president of the United States, I think we better head for the bunkers." Carl Bildt, former foreign minister of Sweden.
  39. “[The anti-Islam rhetoric of] Donald Trump and others in Europe are really the shame of our civilization.” Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.
  40. “A successful politician would not make such statement, as there are millions of Muslims living in the U.S.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Trump's proposed ban on Muslim arrivals.
  41. “The opportunism, unreliability and amorality that we have seen during the [Trump] campaign would be damaging for the world in general and hurt Europe in particular." Ana Palacio, former Spanish foreign minister.
  42. "Trump, like others, stokes hatred and conflations." Manuel Valls, prime minister of France, on the proposed Muslim travel ban.
  43. "This nation [the U.S.] is going to fail if it goes into the hands of a crazy guy." Former Mexican president Vicente Fox.
  44. “We had such appreciation for your system when Barack Hussein Obama was elected [...] Hussein was his middle name. Hussein! He was black. We so admired that America could do something like that. Now you have a candidates who doesn’t want Muslims.” An unnamed ambassador from the Middle East.
  45. "Vulture." Gerard Araud, French ambassador to the U.S., in response to a Donald Trump tweet about gun control in France (Araud later deleted this tweet).
  46. “Trump solutions for me are false solutions, but they’re not original. They’re things that we have heard in Europe from extremist sections,” Sandro Gozi, undersecretary for European affairs in the Italian government.
  47. "It's not a man I would vote for, I can tell you that [...] I hope that the American people, and I think they will, choose someone else who is better equipped for this task." Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist.
  48. "Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects Donald Trump’s recent remarks about Muslims." A statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after Trump's proposed Muslim travel ban.
  49. “Saying the U.S. will no longer engage in anything that is a burden in terms of its relationships with allies, it would be almost like abandoning those alliances [...] It will inevitably give rise to anti-American sentiment worldwide.” Former South Korean vice foreign minister Kim Sung-han.
  50. “A lot of what Donald Trump says makes for a more unstable world." Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
  51. "I think Donald Trump's views are just barking mad on some issues." Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten.
  52. "Trump's statements are shocking and disgusting." Isaac Herzog, Israeli opposition leader, on Trump's proposed Muslim travel ban.
  53. "The only reason I wouldn't visit some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump." Former London mayor and British Foreign Minister MP Boris Johnson.
  54. "We see it as the dramatics of a popular actor." North Korea's ambassador to Britain, Hyon Hak Bong, on Trump's offer to open nuclear talks with Pyongyang.
  55. Trump reflects "the ultraconservative, racist, and war-like thinking that is incubated in the roots of the empire." Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.
  56. “A lot of people in Mexico and Latin America are worried about this. It’s not just the substance of what Trump says, but it’s the style. It’s a familiar and worrisome style to us." Former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castaneda.
  57. “He has a backwards world view. ... In sum, not just for Brazil but for the whole world – the election of Trump would be a disaster.” Former president of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
  58. “He would make an important contribution to anti-American sentiment around the world.” Unnamed Latin American diplomat.
  59. “He is not predictable and this unpredictability is a danger. And therefore it is not in the common interest, nor in the interest of the west, that we have President Donald Trump.” Elmar Brok, German MEP and chair of the European parliament’s foreign affairs committee.
  60. “The rhetoric adopted by US presidential candidate Donald Trump vis-a-vis Islam and Muslims is unacceptable and greatly offensive." Former Egyptian foreign minister Nabil Fahmy.
  61. "The fact is, Cape Breton is lovely all times of the year and if people do want to make choices that perhaps suit their lifestyles better, Canada is always welcoming and opening." Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when asked a question about the potential that Americans could leave the country if Trump is elected.

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