European Union chief Jean-Claude Juncker levied a threat to the United States on Thursday, asserting that he could campaign to break up the country in revenge for Donald Trump’s positive remarks regarding Brexit.
Juncker, president of the EU Commission, noted in a speech at the European People Party’s annual conference in Malta that he would specifically push for Ohio and Texas to secede from America if Trump does not become more supportive of the EU.
Juncker’s remarks came at a time of strained relations between Washington and Brussels due to Europe’s insufficient contributions to NATO and Trump’s preference for dealing with national governments.
Express reported that Juncker’s statements “are by far the most outspoken intervention any senior EU figure has made about Mr. Trump and are likely to dismay some European leaders who were hoping to seek a policy of rapprochement with their most important ally.”
Juncker said in his speech, “Brexit isn’t the end. A lot of people would like it that way, even people on another continent where the newly elected US President was happy that the Brexit was taking place and has asked other countries to do the same.
“If he goes on like that I am going to promote the independence of Ohio and Austin, Texas in the US.”
— Siegfried Muresan (@SMuresan) March 30, 2017
Although Austin, Texas, is not a state, Junker’s comments were not seemingly delivered in jest, but in a serious tone. One journalist reported hearing “chuckles” in the audience and intimated that Juncker might have been joking. The threat was made in the middle of an indignant speech in which Junker castigated critics of the EU Commission.
Juncker’s remarks were unexpected as EU-US relations appeared to turning in a positive direction, with Vice-President Mike Pence having completed a largely successful trip to Brussels and Trump significantly relaxing his tone towards the EU project.
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