From scrapping international agreements to ignoring diplomatic norms on phone calls and Jerusalem, Trump has done things his way on the world stage.
• Took call from Taiwan’s leader
As president-elect, Trump broke with diplomatic tradition and angered China when he took a congratulatory phone call from Taiwan’s democratically elected president, Tsai Ing-wen. China considers Taiwan a breakaway province, and the U.S. does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Trump later soothed mainland China’s fury by reaffirming that the Communist regime in Beijing is the only legitimate government of the country.
• Pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership
On Jan. 23, his first official workday in office, Trump pulled the United States out of a major trade pact negotiated by President Barack Obama with 11 countries that border the Pacific Ocean, calling his move “a great thing for the American worker.” The other nations vowed to push ahead on the agreement without the U.S.
• Vowed to scrap NAFTA
The same day, the White House said Trump would renegotiate the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada to stop U.S. companies from moving plants to its neighbors — particularly Mexico — and eliminating American jobs. If a new accord could not be reached that is fairer to American workers and reduces the U.S. trade deficit, Trump said, he would withdraw from the deal. Both U.S. neighbors have resisted major changes, and the talks continue.
• Imposed travel ban
Trump, in his first week in office, issued a travel ban on people from eight countries, including six that have Muslim-majority populations. Federal courts blocked the ban, the list of countries changed, and the Supreme Court approved the latest version, which affects Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad, while legal challenges continue. The ban has been decried by other countries around the world.
• Battled NATO over money
In his first meeting with NATO allies in May, Trump scolded their “chronic underfunding” of the alliance and refused to explicitly endorse the mutual defense clause of the treaty. In June, Trump affirmed the U.S. commitment to aid any of the 28 NATO nations if attacked. He did so after other NATO leaders said they were prepared to maintain a collective self-defense even without American support.
• Pulled out of Paris climate accord
Trump ordered the government in June to stop implementing the Obama-era Paris climate agreement, which called for the U.S. and other nations to reduce carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. Trump, who has disputed a scientific consensus that human activity is causing higher temperatures, said he would be willing to renegotiate a deal “that’s more fair” to the United States. Trump’s actions, making the U.S. the lone holdout from the global accord, drew international condemnations from other leaders, who ruled out new talks.
• Threatened nuclear war with North Korea
Trump used incendiary threats about war with North Korea in August that departed from the more restrained language other presidents have used and sparked international fears of a catastrophic conflict. After North Korea said ti would fire missiles in the direction of Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific, Trump responded that “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” North Korea never followed through on its threat. Trump also traded unprecedented personal insults with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump called Kim “little rocket man” and “a sick puppy.” Kim called Trump “a dotard,” meaning senile.
• Repudiated the Iran nuclear deal
Trump refused in October to certify that Iran is complying with the 2015 agreement between Iran and six world powers that lifted international sanctions in return for limits on Iran’s nuclear program. Trump left it up to Congress whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran. The other countries who signed the deal with Iran — China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom — condemned Trump’s move and said they would continue to honor the accord.
• Recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
Trump’s formal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December angered Muslim nations and drew a rebuke from 128 countries at the United Nations last week. Only seven small nations joined the U.S. and Israel in voting against the resolution. The resolution reaffirmed a long-standing position that Jerusalem’s future should be decided in negotiations between Israel and Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem — which Israel captured from Jordan in 1967 — as the capital of a future Palestinian nation. Trump said his decision should have no bearing on final borders to be negotiated as part of a peace agreement.
• Listed China and Russia as U.S. rivals
Trump riled China and Russia by describing them as “rivals” in his new national security strategy released in mid-December. The two countries seek to “challenge American power, influence, and interests” and attempt “to erode American security and prosperity,” the document said. China said the strategy displayed “a Cold War mentality.” Russian President Vladimir Putin called it “offensive” and “aggressive.”