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New year, same Trump

Dana Milbank on

WASHINGTON -- New year. Same old president.

2018 was only seven hours and 12 minutes old when President Trump launched his first verbal attack of the year on a foreign country.

His target: the unsuspecting nation of Pakistan, which, he charged, has "given us nothing but lies & deceit" and "safe haven to the terrorists."

Only 10 weeks earlier, Trump tweeted about a "much better relationship with Pakistan," saying, "I want to thank them for their cooperation on many fronts."

Before whiplashed Pakistanis could make sense of it all, Trump moved on. Thirty-two minutes later, he was attacking Iran for "failing at every level."

Trump has insulted, browbeaten or otherwise abused dozens of countries in his first year, and they are as likely to be allies such as Britain as foes such as North Korea (which, if you haven't heard, is run by a "short and fat" "madman" known as "Rocket Man"). The BBC has created an interactive feature on its website titled "What has President Trump said about your country?"

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Early in his term, Trump turned his wrath on the great Scandinavian menace. "Look at what's happening last night in Sweden," he told a crowd, suggesting there had been immigrant violence in that peaceful land. Swedes were baffled: Nothing newsworthy had occurred the previous night.

Trump physically shoved aside the prime minister of Montenegro while making his way to the front of a group of NATO leaders for a photo. But his other assaults have been verbal.

Americans have barely had cross words with the Dutch since New York was New Amsterdam -- until now. Trump sent to the Hague an ambassador, Pete Hoekstra, who had said that the Netherlands' terrorism problem was so bad that there were "no go" areas. Hoekstra denied to a Dutch journalist that he had said that, and when shown footage of him saying that, denied that he denied saying it.

That's minor compared with what Trump did to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull -- or, as the White House has called him, "Trumbull." A transcript leaked to The Washington Post showed Trump calling their conversation "the worst call by far" and an agreement between the countries "the worst deal ever."

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