Saturday 19 October 2019

Trump's 'habit of tweeting' destabilising for world affairs, Mary Robinson says

President Donald Trump (Patrick Semansky/AP)
President Donald Trump (Patrick Semansky/AP)
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

DONALD Trump’s “habit of tweeting” is destabilising for world affairs, former president Mary Robinson has said.

Ms Robinson, who heads up a prominent group of former leaders founded by Nelson Mandela, says the US President has displayed “poor leadership” during his time in the White House.

She said his style of politics is aggravating the world's difficulty in uniting to tackle climate change and the threat of nuclear war.

Her group, known as The Elders, supports multilateral efforts to address problems, and Robinson acknowledged that the current "bumpy period" for multilateralism goes beyond Trump.

"But he certainly has made his negative contribution to that, and I think part of it is the habit of tweeting," she said.

Ms Robinson, who served as Irish President from 1990 until 1997, called Mr Trump’s tweeting "destabilising”.

She said his online commentary gets endless analysis by the media, "and nothing happens really and it's all ridiculous."

She claimed Mr Trump, who was warmly welcomed by locals in west Clare last week, is aggravating is populism.

"It is a sense of countries putting the country first in an isolationist, nationalistic way," Ms Robinson said.

But she said the problem stretched well beyond the US to parts of Eastern Europe and Latin America.

"It's a much more global phenomenon. When you had the United States strongly supporting multilateralism, strongly supporting the way in which the global issues would be dealt with in a partnership ... that made a huge difference," Ms Robinson said.

The Elders met recently with Chinese President Xi Jinping and have also sat down with Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Emmanuel Macron of France. However, they have yet to meet Mr Trump.

"It's difficult to see how constructive a conversation we could have with President Trump at the moment given his clear views, particularly on the two issues that we are prioritising as essential threats and the disruption of the multilateral system, including the trade system, the undermining of the WTO (World Trade Organization)," she said.

Ms Robinson expressed hope that Mr Trump's recent participation at events commemorating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in France that led to the end of World War II would help the President understand the importance of countries working together. 

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