Donald Trump’s brutal assessment of Italy’s EU membership: ‘Get rid of Brussels burden!’

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President Trump is looking increasingly vulnerable amid the US election campaign as his opponent Joe Biden appears to boast a comfortable lead. A new national poll by NBC and the Wall Street Journal has the Democrat candidate 14 points clear of the US President. It comes as Mr Trump is given experimental drugs for treatment after testing positive for coronavirus last week. The Republican president is losing in key areas of the country according to a Guardian/Opinium poll. The poll tracker has Mr Biden ahead in Florida, Arizona, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania – all swing states that could decide the election.

However, polls did undercount Mr Trump’s votes in 2016, and this could happen again.

If the President can mount a recovery and win the November vote, it will come as bad news for the EU.

Mr Trump has hit out at the bloc on numerous occasions, including when he told Italy to ditch the EU’s “burden”.

In October last year, he told Italy it could boost its bilateral trade with the US if it were unshackled from EU rules that ban such deals.

He said: “Without the burdens, as unfair as they are, imposed by the European Union, we would actually have a much higher number than $70billion between Italy and the United States.

“We’re talking to the president about that as it pertains to Italy. He thought we were a little bit harsh on Italy and we don’t want to be harsh on Italy.

“We’ll never do that. So we’ll look at that very strongly.”

It wasn’t the first time Mr Trump attacked the bloc, having started a trade war with the EU in 2018.

President Trump announced he would hike tariffs on steel and aluminium.

The White House chief fanned the flames when he responded to widespread anger by jibing that “trade wars are good”.

The move hit steel with 25 percent and aluminium with 10 percent, leading EU figures to hit back with a defiant message.

The then-European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker promised a firm reaction as Brussels prepared for hefty economic hits.

He said: “We will not sit idly while our industry is hit with unfair measures that put thousands of European jobs at risk.”

Mr Juncker also threatened retaliatory tariffs , stating that “We will put tariffs on Harley-Davidson, on bourbon and on blue jeans – Levi’s”.

Meanwhile, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said there would “only be losers” in a US-EU trade war.

Mr Le Maire vowed a “strong, co-ordinated and united response from the EU”.

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While Mr Trump has posed challenges to the bloc, his election rival Mr Biden is more sympathetic to the EU.

Mr Biden said during the Brexit process that US interests in the UK are “diminished” because of the country’s decision to leave the bloc.

While making the talk at Chatham House, he also admitted that were he British, he would have voted Remain.

The former Vice President said: “Had I been a Member of Parliament, had I been a British citizen, I would have voted against leaving.

“From the US perspective, US interests are diminished with Great Britain not being an integral part of Europe and being able to bring influence.

“There’s growing awareness that Britain played a role in Europe the last 30 years that went well beyond the notion of open borders and trade, being able to influence attitudes.”

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