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US Allies Already Preparing for Trump 2.0 as 2024 Election Nears

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“Trump 2.0” refers to former President Donald Trump’s anticipated second presidential term in 2024. After serving a single term from 2017 until 2021. Trump is on track to win the 2024 election and become a two-term president.

His followers are rallying around the “Trump 2-0” slogan, seeing it as an opportunity to further his “America First” agenda.

Now, America’s friends are bracing for a Trump 2.0 presidency, while incumbent President Biden’s popularity is plummeting in polls. Since his first presidential campaign in 2015, Donald Trump has held the highest national advantage in a New York Times poll.

Now Germany is undertaking a charm drive within the Republican party. Japan is preparing its own Trump whisperer. Mexican government officials are speaking with Camp Trump. Australia is also enacting legislation to help Trump-proof its defense ties with the United States.

Everywhere, US allies are taking efforts to defend or enhance their interests in the event that former President Donald Trump retakes power in the November elections, which has a 50-50 probability based on recent opinion polls in battleground states.

They want to avoid the icy smack that Trump’s “America First” policies handed them last time, which included trade battles, a reshuffling of security alliances, an immigration crackdown, and withdrawal from a global climate agreement.

Reuters spoke with diplomats and government officials across five continents about Trump 2.0 preparations. It revealed Mexican discussions about a new, Trump-friendly foreign minister, an Australian envoy’s role in scrambling to protect a submarine sale, and a German official’s meetings with Republican state governors.

Some foreign leaders have called Trump directly, despite the risk of irritating his Democratic presidential challenger, Joe Biden. According to a source familiar with the exchange, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince just called Trump, and Hungary’s prime minister and Poland’s president have visited with him in person in recent weeks.

British Foreign Minister David Cameron also met with Trump last month at his Florida estate. After their private dinner, he informed reporters in Washington that they addressed Ukraine, the Israel-Gaza conflict, and NATO’s future.

White House Press Secretary Declines to Comment

Karine-Jean-Pierre

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre: Reuters Image

The White House directed Reuters to statements by spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre, who claimed encounters like Cameron’s were not unusual. She declined to comment on Trump’s meeting with Orban or the Saudi conversation, which the New York Times first reported.

The Saudi government’s communications office and the Trump campaign did not reply to demands for comment regarding the call.

According to the campaign, he met with each European leader to discuss security matters, including Polish President Andrzej Duda’s suggestion that NATO nations spend at least 3% of their GDP on defense. Currently, they plan to spend 2%.

Jeremi Suri, a presidential historian at the University of Texas, said encounters between candidates and diplomats were common, but Trump’s meeting with Orban and phone contact with Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Bin Salman were rare.

According to Trump aide Brian Hughes, international leaders’ meetings and calls show awareness of what we already know here at home.

Joe Biden is ineffective, and when President Trump takes office as the 47th President of the United States, the world will be more safe and America will prosper.”

The campaign did not comment in depth to inquiries regarding the other results in this piece, but campaign spokesperson Karoline Leavitt stated that “America’s allies are anxiously hoping that President Trump will be re-elected.”

Much of Trump’s contact has been less direct than meeting with the candidate.

Germany has been establishing connections with Trump’s Republican base at the state level, reminding party officials that the country invests considerably in American industry.

Germany Prepares for Trump 2.0

Trump 2.0

Germany Prepares for Trump 2.0: File Image

Germany is utilizing a transatlantic coordinator to prepare for Trump 2.0, keeping in mind that Trump promised harsh tariffs on Germany’s car industry while president and now intends to impose a minimum 10% tariff on all imports if reelected.

Michael Link, the coordinator, is leading what Berlin refers to as “bypass diplomacy,” which involves crisscrossing the union and targeting swing states in which Germany has a significant investment.

“It would be extremely important, if Donald Trump were re-elected, to prevent the punitive tariffs he is planning on goods from the EU,” he was quoted as saying.

He stated he had met with Republican governors from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama, and Indiana. At each location, he stresses how strong trade relations support Germany’s position in the United States.

According to two Mexico-based sources, government officials have been meeting with people close to Trump on issues such as migration and the trafficking of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, into the United States, both of which could result in increased US pressure on Mexico under another Trump administration.

Trump has stated that he would direct the Pentagon “to make appropriate use of special forces” to attack cartel leadership and infrastructure, which is unlikely to receive Mexican government approval.

The Mexican officials also talked on the North American free trade agreement, which was last revised under Trump’s presidency in 2020 and is up for review in 2026, according to sources. In recent public remarks, Trump complimented his revision of the contract.

And, in a sign of how important personal relationships are under Trump, Mexico’s ruling party is evaluating alternate candidates to install as the next foreign minister based on whether Trump or Biden appear to be the most likely winners, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.

Mexico to Hold Elections in Junes

Claudia Sheinbaum

Presidential candidate of the ruling Morena party Claudia Sheinbaum: Image Reuters

Mexico has its own presidential election in June. If governing party candidate Claudia Sheinbaum wins, as expected, she will assume office in October, one month before the US election.

If Trump wins the election, she is likely to appoint Marcelo Ebrard as foreign minister, according to sources.

Ebrard served as Mexico’s foreign minister during Trump’s presidency and was widely regarded at home as having held his own in interactions with the administration.

If Biden wins, she is more likely to appoint political veteran Juan Ramon de La Fuente, according to the sources.

Sheinbaum’s campaign stated that she was not yet prepared to declare her choice. Ebrard’s spokeswoman stated that he was focusing on a Senate campaign while also supporting Sheinbaum’s presidential candidacy. De La Fuente did not return a request for comment.

To strengthen its diplomatic interaction with the Trump administration, Japan plans to send Sunao Takao, a Harvard-educated interpreter who helped former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bond with Trump over golf games.
Taro Aso, another former prime minister of Japan, met Trump in New York on Tuesday, according to a campaign spokesman.

America’s closest friend in Asia is concerned that Trump may reignite trade protectionism and demand more money to maintain US soldiers in Japan, according to government officials.

UK Labour Party Favored to Win Next Election

David Lammy

David Lammy Labour’s nominative foreign minister: Photo Getty Images

Britain’s Labour Party, which is now in opposition but is a strong favorite to win elections by the end of the year, may have a more difficult road to a positive relationship with a Trump presidency.

David Lammy, Labour’s nominative foreign minister, previously described Trump as a “woman-hating, neo-Nazi sociopath” in Time magazine. Lammy is now attempting to strengthen ties with Republicans, according to a Labour official.

Lammy has met with Republican leaders considered potential for positions in a Trump cabinet, including Mike Pompeo, Trump’s former Secretary of State, according to a Labour official.

Lammy declined an interview, but has stated that many British politicians have attacked Trump and that he will protect British interests as foreign minister regardless of who occupies the White House.

Victoria Coates, Trump’s former deputy national security advisor, warned a Labour victory may signal a rocky patch for US-UK relations if Trump wins, citing “personal vitriol” from Labour.

Australia Fears Trump Cancelling Defence Deal

Australia's Ambassador to the U.S. Kevin Rudd: File Image

Australia’s Ambassador to the U.S. Kevin Rudd: File Image

Kevin Rudd, Australia’s U.S. ambassador, recently earned Trump’s ire for previous criticism of the former president.

In a TV interview last month, Trump stated that he had heard Rudd, an ex-prime minister, was “a little bit nasty” and that “if he’s at all hostile, he will not be there long.”

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong has supported Rudd, saying he would continue to serve as ambassador if Trump regained power. Behind the scenes, Rudd is attempting to prevent Trump from canceling a vital defense deal, according to an Australian diplomatic source.

The Biden administration has agreed to assist Australia in its first step toward creating a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines by selling three to five Virginia-class attack submarines.

Rudd has urged Canberra to move quickly to implement legislation that brings it closer to US arms-control standards and establishes a separate nuclear-safety council, in the expectation that it will make the sale more difficult for Trump to reverse, according to the source.

Trump’s “America First” Approach

Michael Shoebridge is the Director of ASPI’s Defence: Image Reuters

The embassy declined to respond. Canberra did not immediately respond to a request for comment. According to Michael Shoebridge of Strategic Analysis Australia, Trump’s “America First” approach might potentially jeopardize the pact.

“All the levers are there for Trump to say, ‘the U.S. Navy doesn’t have enough, so Australia don’t get any’,” the defense analyst said. Lobbying is a low-key option for US allies to influence Trump, especially if they wish to remain covert.

A former South Korean government official currently working in Washington said the Biden administration was keenly monitoring foreign governments and that Seoul preferred to learn Trump’s thoughts in a “stealthy manner” through lobbying firms.

South Koreans are flocking to Washington’s lobbyist district to learn about Trump’s views on trade and investment, as well as what will happen to Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), according to a South Korean official.

The IRA encourages manufacturing reshoring and energy transformation. Trump also supports reshoring, but not Biden’s desire to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Some US allies use Trump-linked lobbyists, such as Ballard Partners, which is led by Brian Ballard, a Florida lobbyist known for his strong ties to Trump.

Ballard’s clients include Japan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the firm’s and the United States’ disclosure reports. It declined to name others.
“Many members of our firm have been longtime allies of the former president,” said Justin Sayfie, a partner at Ballard.

Japan’s foreign ministry stated that it sought advice and support from a diverse group of specialists. It declined to comment on its relationship with Ballard.

Source: Reuters

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