BOSTON (CBS) — President Trump’s recent vulgar remarks about Haiti and certain African countries leaves a “permanent impression” on other countries, Nicholas Burns tells Jon Keller.
Burns was once an ambassador to NATO and an ambassador to Greece. He now teaches at Harvard University.
“When [Trump] says something, people listen whether they like us or not and the president’s hateful comments–and I must say, racist comments– about Haiti and African countries, they are going to reduce our credibility around the world,” said Burns.
The comments were “wrong” and “embarrassing,” he added.
According to PEW research center, at the end of Obama’s term, 64% of those surveyed in 37 countries had confidence in the U.S. president. At the beginning of Trump’s administration, that percentage dipped to 22.
Burns pointed out that the sudden drop could be due to Trump’s the handling of the Paris climate change agreement, the Iran nuclear agreement, and the refugee crisis.
“The president is sending a signal to the rest of the world that it really is America first and America only,” said Burns, a tactic the former ambassador disapproves of.
When Keller asked how Trump’s decisions could impact Massachusetts, Burns said the President might go after the NAFTA agreement next.
“This is our free trade agreement of the last 23 years with Mexico and Canada. If we do that American exports from Massachusetts and New England, from all over the country, are going to have to pay a higher tariff going into Canada and Mexico than they have for the past quarter of a century. That is going to have a direct, negative on a lot of the businesses in our state.”
It has not been all bad, though.
“I’ve been a real critic of President Trump and I’m sure I’ll continue to be but I will say this: on North Korea, I think the president has done well so far. He’s been able to convince the Chinese, and the Chinese have leverage over the North Koreans, to expand their sanctions, he’s built an international coalition to increase the severity of the sanctions and I think that has hurt the North Korean leadership,” Burns said.
While the sanctions are working, Burns said it was wrong for Trump to threaten war, saying it was not in the country’s best interest and lacks support from the military.
Burns described that overall he is “worried” about the presidency and thinks there is “a major leadership crisis in the White House.”