TRUMP: Dems Damage Diplomacy by Scheduling Impeachment During NATO Summit

‘When we travel abroad, we don’t talk about the president in a negative way. We save that for home…’

(Liberty Headlines) President Donald Trump on Monday reprimanded Democrats for timing this week’s impeachment hearing to undercut him during his trip abroad. The NATO leaders’ meeting in London comes at a crucial moment for the 70-year-old military alliance.

Trump, who arrived in London late Monday for two days of meetings, called the trip “one of the most important journeys that we make as president” and said Democrats had long known about it.

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Trump’s trip to the U.K. comes amid ongoing quarrels over defense spending by NATO allies and widespread anxiety over the president’s commitment to the alliance.

The president said his trip would be focused on “fighting for the American people.” But in the more than two months that the impeachment inquiry has been underway, he has constantly drifted back to what he frames as the Democrats’ unfair effort to overturn the results of his 2016 election.

The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Wednesday on the constitutional grounds for impeachment before Trump wraps up at the NATO meeting.

Embrace or Ignore?

Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House counsel Pat Cipollone and presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway all criticized the timing, with Pompeo saying the hearings would “distract America’s president from his important mission overseas.”

Trump insists he’s solely focused on scoring domestic and foreign policy wins, including revamping NATO so that allies spend more on defense.

In recent days, however, he’s repeatedly lashed out about the “impeachment hoax” and the “scam” inquiry. He even delved into impeachment at a ceremony to celebrate NCAA athletes and roasting House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff, the ringleader of the partisan effort, at last week’s annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon.

Liberal Media Losing the Effort to Dupe Public on Ukraine 1

Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi / IMAGE: Fox News via Youtube

Democrats, meanwhile, seem conflicted over whether to downplay the effort or double down.

One longtime impeachment hawk, Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., told a radio program last week that she thought censure was the best option, before backpedaling again, hours later, to say she still supported charges against Trump.

Polls have shown that public support has waned since Democrats first began their Ukraine effort in September—the result of an anonymous whistleblower‘s complaint to the intelligence community inspector general about a July 25 call.

After a well-received Thanksgiving Day visit to Afghanistan where the president served troops stationed there, White House aides say this week’s summit offers Trump yet another opportunity to counter the impeachment narrative and demonstrate to voters that he’s keeping a business-as-usual approach while Democrats concentrate on the probe.

But Trump, who also has far outpaced his Democratic rivals in fundraising, courtesy of the controversial House probe, may be loath to distance himself too much.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in Madrid for a U.N. conference on climate change, ducked questions about the impeachment inquiry, saying, “When we travel abroad, we don’t talk about the president in a negative way. We save that for home.”

New Diplomatic Territory

Trump Trades Insults with France & Canada Before G-7 Summit

Emmanuel Macron & Justin Trudeau (screen shot: CBC News/Youtube)

While globalist world leaders have long scoffed at the “America First” president’s influence on the world stage, some analysts projected that Trump’s ongoing impeachment could offer new fodder for derision.

“In one sense impeachment is weakening his hand diplomatically,” said Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute in Washington.

“For a normal president, it would be seen as a substantial problem,” Carpenter said. “For Donald Trump, he’s going to try to blow right through it and act is if that’s not a relevant factor.”

The NATO leaders meeting is a complicated backdrop for Trump to make his first officially scheduled overseas visit (last week’s troop visit was unannounced for security reasons) since Democrats launched the impeachment inquiry.

Trump has repeatedly criticized fellow NATO members and complained that too few nations are on track to meet the alliance goal of spending at least 2% of GDP on defense by 2024. French President Emmanuel Macron recently lamented that a lack of U.S. leadership was causing the “brain death” of the alliance.

The summit also has helped to fuel fearmongering domestically and abroad among Trump’s political adversaries.

Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton has said the president could move to leave the alliance if he wins reelection.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who has warned that a second Trump term could mean NATO’s effective dissolution, jokingly said Monday that he’d “say a prayer” as the president heads to London.

“There’s time for redemption,” Biden told reporters as he campaigned in Emmetsburg, Iowa. “But so far he’s treated NATO like it’s a protection racket.”

In the leadup to the summit, White House aides sought to soften Trump’s past criticism of member nations as deadbeats.

White House officials noted that before Trump took office only four NATO members had reached the 2% benchmark that was set in 2014. Now there are nine countries that have reached the threshold, according to the White House. Eighteen of the 29 members of the alliance are projected to meet the 2% threshold by 2024.

Trump isn’t the first U.S. president to attend a NATO summit with impeachment looming. President Bill Clinton famously emphasized that he was remaining focused on his job of leading the country while facing trial for perjury and obstruction over a series of illicit sexual trysts.

In June 1974, then-President Richard Nixon faced criticism when he headed to Brussels as NATO commemorated its 25th anniversary. He met with fellow alliance leaders and tried to convey a message that he remained fully in power even as the Watergate investigation gained steam. By summer’s end, Nixon resigned.

In contrast, Trump heads to NATO confident that there aren’t the votes needed in the Republican-controlled Senate to convict him should the House vote to impeach him.

Even so, he still might not be able to resist throwing attention back to the impeachment inquiry in Washington.

“While Nixon remained determined to rise above the swirl of impeachment and pretend he wasn’t distracted, Trump can’t help himself,” said Derek Chollet, executive vice president for security and defense policy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. “Moreover, for Trump, being in charge hardly means projecting steady confidence—it means proving that he can keep everyone off-balance and nervous about what’s coming next.”