When asked during a debate late last year about his policy toward Israel, Mitt Romney said it’s “very simple. You start off by saying that you don’t allow an inch of space to exist between you and your friends and your allies.” Claiming (without basis) that President Obama publicly “threw Israel under the bus,” Romney added, “if you disagree with an ally, you talk about it privately. But in public, you stand shoulder-to-shoulder with your allies.”
But it doesn’t appear that Romney, nor his staff, feel the same way about America’s European allies. Back in March, Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron had a friendly visit in Washington and the Guardian reported yesterday that the Romney campaign didn’t like it too much:
Senior advisers to Mitt Romney have bitterly criticised David Cameron’s recent White House “love-in” with Barack Obama before Romney’s first visit to London for the opening of the Olympic Games.
Referring to Cameron’s highly flattering toast to Obama during a banquet given in the prime minister’s honour when he visited Washington in March, a senior aide said: “You don’t take sides in an election year“.
The aide said that Cameron’s visit to the White House showed a “lack of experience,” that he was “not very skillful” and that the visit “infringed” on the U.S.-U.K. special relationship.
It seems that trashing America’s European allies is a hallmark of the Romney campaign. “We’re becoming far more like a European social welfare state and people don’t want to see that,” the presumptive GOP nominee says regularly. And in his New Hampshire primary victory speech back in January, Romney had particularly harsh words for Europe, suggesting that European countries aren’t “free and prosperous“:
[Obama] wants to turn America into a European-style entitlement society. We want to ensure that we remain a free and prosperous land of opportunity.
This President takes his inspiration from the capitals of Europe; we look to the cities and small towns of America. [...]
I want you to remember when our White House reflected the best of who we are, not the worst of what Europe has become.
And in a recent speech given at a private fundraiser, Romney said he wants to restore “the principles of liberty and freedom and entreprenuership and innovativeness” to the United States, as opposed to countries in Europe, which are becoming weak by “sacrificing their military.”
Romney’s hypocrisy on keeping conversations with allies private doesn’t stop with his and his campaign’s public criticism of America’s European friends. Last month, the Romney campaign called on Obama to “release the notes and transcripts of all his meetings with world leaders so the American people can be satisfied that he’s not promising to sell out the country’s interests after the election is over.”