WATFORD, England — President Trump often ends his foreign jaunts with a grand flourish: a solo news conference with himself playing the flamboyant diplomat, riffing on the trip, establishing dominance — and, most importantly, offering his final version of reality before blowing out of town. That Trump slunk out of the NATO summit here Wednesday after hastily canceling his planned news conference underscored just how unsettling he found his two-day visit.
French President Emmanuel Macron had confronted Trump on areas of disagreement, and a video surfaced of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau privately mocking the American president in a huddle with Macron and other world leaders during a Buckingham Palace reception.
But in many respects, Trump’s abrupt departure was typical for a president who has routinely upended foreign visits during his first three years in office — blustering, bullying and attempting at all times to keep the world’s attention squarely on himself. He has criticized his hosts and issued global threats. He’s hobnobbed with dictators and feuded with allies.
And, as he did this week in Watford, he has sometimes sulked when things aren’t going his way — part of the taxonomy of behaviors that make up Trump’s overseas adventures as president. The unruly guest The last time Trump visited London, in June, he caused a ruckus by declaring that privatizing Britain’s National Health Service — a sacrosanct postwar creation that provides free health care to Britons — would be “on the table” for trade discussions.
The faux pas quickly became a talking point among British politicians hoping to succeed then-Prime Minister Theresa May. And Trump backtracked shortly thereafter. “I don’t see it being on the table,” Trump said, contradicting his own comments. “That’s something I would not consider part of trade. That’s not trade.” And on Tuesday, when asked again if he thought Britain’s health system should be part of trade negotiations with the United States, Trump acted like his previous comments didn’t exist: “I don’t even know where that rumor started.”