Trump Seen Hindering Europe's Populist Right as Centrists Gain Ground



Jun 16, 2017

British Prime Minister Theresa May was the first foreign leader to visit President Trump at the White House in January, but that may have cost at the

polls.

Britain suffered a series of terror attacks before its recent election. Initially, Donald Trump offered the United States' support, but later used Twitter to criticize the mayor of London. That led many voters to question Britain's cosiness with Trump.

"It's not a tangible thing, but you just get a sense of the national debate swinging back around a little bit, becoming more wary of America again," said Ian Dunt, editor of the website politics.co.uk.

Le Pen's defeat

In April, President Trump appeared to endorse the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen after the terrorist shooting of a policeman in Paris. She was crashed by her rival Emmanuel Macron.

"It did play a role in the sense that it hindered her chances because of the example that Donald Trump was setting in the United States, which was not necessarily perceived as positive,"said Catherine De Vries of the University of Essex.

Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement also alarmed Europe.

Competing force

"And I think many voters are now realizing and asking themselves: Would voting for anti-establishment right-wing candidates in Europe do them any good?" De Vries said. "I don't think it's the end of right-wing populism. I do think that they're not necessarily the only mobilizers of anti-establishment sentiment. And they just find themselves in competition."

In competition with a new political breed: populist yet centrist. But not all of Europe is converted.

Trump remains popular in the east, in countries like Poland. The president will visit Warsaw next month. No visits are planned for Paris or Berlin — and his proposed state visit to London is on hold.

Analysts say it is a mark of the growing divide between Washington and Western Europe.

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