European Union Chief Jean-Claude Juncker is apparently not thrilled with Trump's support of the Brexit referendum and, in speaking at the centre-right European People Party’s (EPP) annual conference today, has vowed to "promote the independence of Ohio and Austin, Texas in the United States of America" if he "goes on like that."
"A lot of people would like it that way. Even people on another continent where the newly elected U.S. President was happy that the Brexit was taking place and has asked other countries to do the same. And, if he goes on like that, I am going to promote the indenpendence of Ohio and Austin, Texas in the United States of America."
Of course, 'there is truth in jest' and behind the humor, there’s real anger among EU chiefs that President Trump stoked the Brexit fire and, with it, egged on other countries to follow the U.K.’s lead.
Mr Juncker's comments came in the middle of an angry speech in which he railed against critics of the EU Commission.
They will be seen as totally inexplicable at a time when EU-US relations appeared to be on the mend, with Vice-President Mike Pence having completed a largely successful trip to Brussels and the commander-in-chief himself significantly softening his tone towards the EU project.
Mr Juncker did not criticise Britain at all during his speech, and only made reference to Brexit in relation to Mr Trump and the opportunities it presents for Europe to reform itself.
The remarks are diplomatic dynamite at a time when relations between Washington and Brussels are already strained over Europe’s meagre contributions to NATO and the US leader’s open preference for dealing with national governments.
They 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.
Of course, if Juncker is really serious about his threats, we would kindly suggest that he start by promoting CalExit.