U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said President Donald Trump is out of touch with most U.S. citizens when it comes to democratic standards and values.
“While this administration hasn’t prioritized support for democracy and human rights, we must not lose heart and we must not lose focus,” Menendez said during a speech to the German Marshall Fund in Brussels. “On this issue the administration does not speak for and does not represent all Americans, or even most Americans.”
Menendez spoke in the heart of the EU two days after Vice President Mike Pence castigated European nations for not falling into line behind the U.S. on issues like the Iran nuclear deal and China’s efforts at technological expansion. The speech also comes after Trump threatened to release Islamic State fighters that would “permeate Europe” if France, Germany and the U.K. didn’t step up their roles in Syria.
Menendez warned that “the trans-Atlantic relationship is under serious strain,” adding that Trump’s decision to withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, impose tariffs on European steel and aluminum imports and to downgrade “long-held universal values of democracy and human rights” have all dealt a blow to America’s relationships with its allies.
“Instead of attacking our friends in Europe as President Trump has done we should redouble our efforts to find areas of common ground and common interest,” Menendez said. “In a world where we need to work together to face real threats, I for one humbly believe that the U.S. should lecture less and lead more.”