The Forces behind Trump: EU was formed 'to beat the US at making money'

Donald Trump has claimed that the European Union was created to “beat the United States when it comes to making money” in an interview with NBC News.

Speaking to Chuck Todd, whom the Republican nominee has repeatedly berated as “sleepy-eyed”, Trump also said of the EU “the reason that it got together was like a consortium so that it could compete with the United States”.

The European Union was founded as the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952 in an effort to promote strong cross-border ties in Europe and avoid future wars. It has since evolved to a customs union and eventually to the transnational entity devoted to removing internal trade barriers, building a common market and a fiscal union. Its development and growth has been repeatedly supported by the United States under presidents of both parties.

Trump’s anti-European statements come after the Republican nominee repeatedly praised Brexit, the vote by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, including in a press conference in the day after the referendum held at a Trump golf course in Scotland.

In the interview, Trump defended his recent attacks on Nato, saying that countries in the organization needed to pay more to the United States in order for Washington to meet its treaty obligations of mutual defense. In doing so, Trump called Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell “100% wrong” for rebutting his comments earlier this week. The Kentucky senator told Politico: “Nato is the most important military alliance in world history. I want to reassure our Nato allies that if any of them get attacked, we’ll be there to defend them.”

Trump also called both the World Trade Organization and Nafta “disasters”.

The Republican nominee also said that his call to ban people from the United States from “any nation that has been compromised by terrorism” was an expansion on his infamous Muslim ban of December, 2015. “I actually don’t think it’s a rollback. In fact, you could say it’s an expansion,” said Trump. He added: “I’m looking now at territory. People were so upset when I used the word Muslim. Oh, you can’t use the word Muslim. Remember this. And I’m okay with that, because I’m talking territory instead of Muslim.”

Trump also stood by longtime friend Roger Ailes, who left Fox News this week after being accused of sexual harassment by a number of former and current employees. “He’s been a friend of mine for a long time,” said Trump. The Republican nominee went on to describe the situation as “very sad. Because he’s a very good person. I’ve always found him to be just a very, very good person”.

Trump added: “I feel very badly. But a lot of people are thinking he’s going to run my campaign.”

He also confirmed reports that he would seek revenge against former presidential nominee rivals John Kasich and Ted Cruz by funding a super PAC in the 2018 cycle to help defeat their respective attempts to win the gubernatorial election in Ohio and US Senate election in Texas.

“I’ll probably do a super PAC, you know, when they run against Kasich, for $10m to $20m, against Ted Cruz,” said Trump. “And maybe one other person that I’m thinking about.”

Trump also initially hedged on whether he’d support the Senate candidacy of former Ku Klux Klan candidate David Duke, who announced Friday that he would mount a bid as a Republican in his home state of Louisiana. When asked: “Would you support a Democrat over David Duke,” Trump responded: “I guess, depending on who the Democrat was, but the answer would be yes.”

Duke has cited Trump as an inspiration for his candidacy and is a long-time endorser. The Republican nominee has faced controversy during his campaign for his unwillingness to condemn Duke at times.

Here is a full chronology of Donald Trump’s statements on white supremacist David Duke.

Unlike most other top Republican officials, Trump generally does not couple his statements about Duke with a firm condemnation of Duke’s views. Instead, his answers are often reactive, such as “I would do that [repudiate Duke], if it made you feel better.”

David Duke has a long history in politics and the white supremacy movement. Here are key moments in Duke’s life in the public eye. (Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)


CNN’s Larry King“Did the David Duke thing bother you? Fifty-five percent of the whites in Louisiana voted for him.”

Trump: “I hate seeing what it represents, but I guess it just shows there’s a lot of hostility in this country. There’s a tremendous amount of hostility in the United States.”

King: “Anger?”

Trump: “It’s anger. I mean, that’s an anger vote. People are angry about what’s happened. People are angry about the jobs. If you look at Louisiana, they’re really in deep trouble. When you talk about the East Coast, it’s not the East Coast. It’s the East Coast, the middle coast, the West Coast…”


“The Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. [Patrick] Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. [Lenora] Fulani. This is not company I wish to keep.”

— Trump, in a statement saying he will not accept the Reform Party nomination for president, Feb. 13, 2000


NBC’s Matt Lauer: “When you say the [Reform] party is self-destructing, what do you see as the biggest problem with the Reform Party right now?”

Trump: “Well, you’ve got David Duke just joined — a bigot, a racist, a problem. I mean, this is not exactly the people you want in your party.” —remarks on NBC’s “Today Show,” Feb. 14, 2000



Bloomberg’s John Heilemann: “How do you feel about the David Duke quasi-endorsement?”

Trump: “I don’t need his endorsement; I certainly wouldn’t want his endorsement. I don’t need anyone’s endorsement.”

Heilemann“Would you repudiate David Duke?”


Trump: “Sure, I would do that, if it made you feel better. I don’t know anything about him. Somebody told me yesterday, whoever he is, he did endorse me. Actually I don’t think it was an endorsement. He said I was absolutely the best of all of the candidates.”— exchange during an interview on Bloomberg Politics, Aug. 26, 2015



“Voting for these people [Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz], voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage. I’m not saying I endorse everything about Trump, in fact I haven’t formally endorsed him. But I do support his candidacy, and I support voting for him as a strategic action. I hope he does everything we hope he will do.”— David Duke, on his radio program, Feb. 25, 2016

Question: “How do you feel about the recent endorsement from David Duke?”

Trump: “I didn’t even know he endorsed me. David Duke endorsed me? Okay, all right. I disavow, okay?”


— Trump, in response to a question at a news conference, Feb. 26

CNN’s Jake Tapper: “I want to ask you about the Anti-Defamation League, which this week called on you to publicly condemn unequivocally the racism of former KKK grand wizard David Duke, who recently said that voting against you at this point would be ‘treason to your heritage.’ Will you unequivocally condemn David Duke and say that you don’t want his vote or that of other white supremacists in this election?” 

Trump: “Well, just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke. Okay? I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So, I don’t know. I don’t know, did he endorse me or what’s going on, because, you know, I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists. And so you’re asking me a question that I’m supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about.” 

Tapper: “But I guess the question from the Anti-Defamation League is, even if you don’t know about their endorsement, there are these groups and individuals endorsing you. Would you just say unequivocally you condemn them and you don’t want their support?” 

Trump: “Well, I have to look at the group. I mean, I don’t know what group you’re talking about. You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I would have to look. If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them. And, certainly, I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong.” 


Tapper: “The Ku Klux Klan?” 

Trump: “But you may have groups in there that are totally fine, and it would be very unfair. So, give me a list of the groups, and I will let you know.” 


Tapper: “Okay. I mean, I’m just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here, but…”

Trump: “I don’t know any — honestly, I don’t know David Duke. I don’t believe I have ever met him. I’m pretty sure I didn’t meet him. And I just don’t know anything about him.” 

Tapper: “All right.” 

— exchange on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Feb. 28


 Trump: “I’m sitting in a house in Florida, with a very bad earpiece that they gave me, and you could hardly hear what he was saying. But what I heard was ‘various groups.’ And I don’t mind disavowing anybody and I disavowed David Duke. And I disavowed him the day before at a major news conference…. I have no problem disavowing groups, but I’d at least like to know who they are. It would be very unfair to disavow a group if the group shouldn’t be disavowed. I have to know who the groups are. But I disavowed David Duke.”

— Interview with NBC’s “Today Show,” Feb. 29

ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos: “So, are you prepared right now to make a clear and unequivocal statement renouncing the support of all white supremacists?”

Trump: “Of course, I am. I mean, there’s nobody that’s done so much for equality as I have. You take a look at Palm Beach, Florida, I built the Mar-a-Lago Club, totally open to everybody; a club that frankly set a new standard in clubs and a new standard in Palm Beach and I’ve gotten great credit for it. That is totally open to everybody. So, of course, I am.


–exchange on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” March 1

Trump: “We had a news conference and they asked me the exact same question. I said I disavow. Now, right after the program that we’re talking about — and I thought it was clear, but you know, we’re talking about groups, groups, groups. I do have to know the name of the group because, who knows? I mean, they have to give me the name of the group. But right after, when I reviewed it, I put out a tweet and I put out on Facebook that I totally disavow. Now everybody knew I did that but the press refused to look at that. It was right after. And I disavowed then; I disavowed today on ABC with George Stephanopoulos, I disavowed again. I mean, how many times are you supposed to disavow? But I disavow and hopefully it’s the final time I have to do it. But if you look at Facebook and if you look at Twitter, right after the show I put out a statement because I want everybody to be sure.”