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EU legislators try to keep Trumpist out of Brussels

Even before he could be nominated, EU politicians said they would rather see US President Trump's potential ambassador to the bloc stay home. Theodore Roosevelt Malloch has called for dismantling​ the euro and EU.

EU leaders hope to keep Theodore Roosevelt Malloch, a potential US ambassador to the bloc, out of Brussels. The businessman has compared the EU to the Soviet Union and called for its downfall and for its single currency, the euro, to fail.

"I am strictly against conferring Ted Malloch accreditation as ambassador," said Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, one of the European Parliament's 14 vice presidents and a member of Germany's Free Democrats.

In an interview with the BBC last week, Malloch cheered the looming Brexit as a way for the United Kingdom to get around "the bureaucrats in Brussels" and said EU interference in free trade negotiations between Britain and the United States would be like a husband "trying to stop his wife having an affair." And, said the man who could represent the United States in Brussels, "I had in a previous career a diplomatic post where I helped bring down the Soviet Union - so maybe there's another union that needs a little taming."

Malloch has not been officially nominated by Trump to represent US interests to the 28-member bloc of European nations.

On Thursday, Christian Social Union MEP Manfred Weber and Guy Verhofstadt, the parliament's Liberal bloc leader, called for the EU to deny Malloch accreditation in a letter to the presidents of the European Council and Commission. All 28 states must consent to accreditation; however, some fear that members might feel pressured into approving Malloch in order to avoid antagonizing the Trump administration.

Named after an early 20th century US president, Malloch formerly worked for the US State Department and the United Nations. He has posted on his website that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once called him a "global sherpa." Influential international diplomats are sometimes referred to as sherpas for carrying the loads their bosses later take credit for when signing treaties and other international deals.

'Destabilizing behavior'

In other diplomatic developments, an adviser to Iran's supreme leader said his country wouldn't yield to "useless" threats over its ballistic missile program from "an inexperienced person." That was a clear reference to Trump, who before his presidential campaign had been a reality television host.

US National Security Adviser Michael Flynn said the United States had put Iran "on notice" over its "destabilizing behavior" after it test-fired a ballistic missile Wednesday. Trump echoed that language on Thursday. "Iran has been formally put on notice," he wrote on Twitter after his administration announced that it would review its response to the launch, which officials in Tehran said they had done solely for defensive purposes.

Trump, a Republican who took office proclaiming US exceptionalism, attempted to reassure Americans on Thursday. "We have to be tough," said Trump, who entered office with an approval rating of about 50 percent. 

"Believe me, when you hear about the tough phone calls I'm having, don't worry about it," Trump said at his first US National Prayer Breakfast. "Just don't worry about it." He promised that his administration would "straighten it out."

mkg/sms (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)

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