WE in Scotland have got used to President Donald Trump’s fractious relationship with his mother’s homeland. His fleeting visit to the family home on Lewis; the expansion of his golf course empire in Aberdeenshire and Ayrshire; his failed attempt to bully the Scottish Government into scrapping a wind farm; his fallout with the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews – all of them pretty serious failings on his part as a half-Scot. But they are nowhere near as bad as his latest fight with a friend.

For now it’s his other ancestral home that’s in line for him to “put the boot in” (© dame-elect Ruth Davidson). Germany is the latest country to feel the wrath of Trump, who has decided to pull out thousands of US military personnel stationed there as part of Nato commitments.


THAT’S the problem. As is often the case, no-one knows exactly what Trump is going to do. A few weeks ago, he approved a plan to remove 9500 troops in stages but now 12,000 troops right away has been mentioned. The Pentagon was already working on a long-term strategy that would have removed almost that number.

US Defence Secretary Mark Esper announced details of the plan on Wednesday. He said the US will spend “single-digit” billions to send home some 6400 personnel and relocate 5400 out of Germany to other European countries such as Italy and possibly Poland and the Baltic states. Yup, you can see that move playing well with Trump’s buddy Vladimir Putin.

The US Defence Department said roughly 25,000 troops would remain in Germany. Of course, Trump could just say he’s following the UK’s example – the British Army of the Rhine closed down years ago and the last British military base in Germany was handed back in February without the slightest fuss being made.


BECAUSE its his latest hatefest.

He let rip at reporters: “Germany’s delinquent. They haven’t paid their fees. They haven’t paid their Nato fees. And they’re way off. And they’ve been off for years. And they have no intention of paying it.

“And the United States has been taken advantage of on trade and on military and on everything else for many years. And I’m here, and I’ve been straightening it out. Why would we keep all of those troops there? And now Germany is saying [the withdrawal] bad for their economy.

“Well, it’s good for our economy. Germany is delinquent. They’re at 1% They should be at 2% [of GDP on defence spending]And actually, everybody should be at 4%, not 2%, because 2% is too low.

“[The US troops] are there to protect Europe. They’re there to protect Germany, right? And Germany is supposed to pay for it. Germany is not paying for it. So why should we leave them if they were not -- we don’t want to be the suckers anymore.”

Trump added: “The United States has been taken advantage of for 25 years, both on trade and on the military. We are protecting Germany. So we’re reducing the force because they’re not paying their bills. It’s very simple. They’re delinquent.

“All Nato nations must meet their 2% commitment, and that must ultimately go to 4%!”

It’s not a new theme – this was Trump two years ago: “Presidents have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get Germany and other rich Nato nations to pay more toward their protection from Russia. They pay only a fraction of their cost. The US pays tens of billions of dollars too much to subsidise Europe, and loses Big on Trade!

“Germany pays Russia billions of dollars a year for energy, and we are supposed to protect Germany from Russia.”

Not a nice way to talk about a chief ally. Especially one that in November agreed to a massive increase in its contribution to Nato to match that of the USA. Of course, Trump’s outburst had nothing to do with German Chancellor Angela Merkel telling him last month she didn’t want anything to do with his proposed G7 summit in Washington ...


HE certainly does. Donald Trump’s paternal grandfather Friedrich Trump hailed from a small village in Bavaria and emigrated to the USA when he was 16 – the original family name was Drumpf but was changed to Trump around the turn of the 19th century.

Friedrich married fellow German Elizabeth Christ and they returned to the USA to start a dynasty. Germans weren’t popular at times. In his 1987 memoirs,

The Donald said his grandparents were Swedish.