Much has been made of President Donald Trump's visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel this week, but high-stakes meetings are still to come — in Europe.
The president heads to Rome on Tuesday, after he spent the start of his first foreign trip in the Middle East talking about efforts to combat terrorism and seek peace between Israel and the Palestinians. In the ensuing days, Trump will meet with Pope Francis, top European Union officials, leaders of NATO member countries and the leaders of the Group of 7 economic powers.
For Trump, the meetings yield an opportunity to follow through on pledges: to push European allies to spend more on defense and to strike a more coordinated effort against North Korea, among other issues. On the European side, the meetings are a chance to gauge Trump's loyalty — or lack of it — to the Continent. The American president has repeatedly bashed institutions like the EU and NATO that have formed the basis of U.S.-Europe cooperation for decades.