Foreign diplomats voicing alarm to US officials about Trump

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Foreign diplomats are expressing alarm to U.S. government officials about what they say are inflammatory and insulting public statements by Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, according to senior U.S. officials.

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Officials from Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia have complained in recent private conversations, mostly about the xenophobic nature of Trump's statements, said three U.S. officials, who all declined to be identified.

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Foreign diplomats voicing alarm to US officials about Trump
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump responds to supporters during his rally at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Security removes protesters after one of many interruptions during Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's rally at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Protesters interrupt Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during his remarks at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 05: A protester yells as he is escorted out of a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the CFE Arena during a campaign stop on the campus of the University of Central Florida on March 5, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Primary voters head to the polls on March 15th in Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 05: People listen as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the CFE Arena during a campaign stop on the campus of the University of Central Florida on March 5, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Primary voters head to the polls on March 15th in Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 05: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the CFE Arena during a campaign stop on the campus of the University of Central Florida on March 5, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Primary voters head to the polls on March 15th in Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 05: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump signs the arm of a young lady at the CFE Arena during a campaign stop on the campus of the University of Central Florida on March 5, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Primary voters head to the polls on March 15th in Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A group of young Muslims stage a small protest as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump takes the stage for a campaign rally during the Kansas GOP caucus at Century II in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
Anti-Trump demonstrator Bill Anderson protests outside Century II, where the Republican presdential caucus took place, in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Fernando Salazar/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses his supporters at rally during the Kansas GOP caucus at Century II in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
Anti-Trump supporters demonstrate outside Century II, where the Republican presdential caucus took place, in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Fernando Salazar/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY- MARCH 5: Evelyn Stalevicz shows her support for Donald Trump as voters lined up to vote in the GOP presidential caucus at Zachary Taylor Elementary school March 5, 2016, in Louisville, Kentucky. This would be the state of Kentucky's first-ever Republican Presidential Caucus, participating in Presidential Primaries in May alongside other states. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
Donald Trump supporters acknowledge their candidate as he takes the stage inside Century II, where the Republican presdential caucus took place, in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Fernando Salazar/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
A Donald Trump supporter raises his sign inside Century II, where the Republican presdential caucus took place, in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Fernando Salazar/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
Donald Trump supporters and protesters clash outside Century II, where the Republican presdential caucus took place, in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Fernando Salazar/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
Donald Trump supporters cheer for their man inside Century II, where the Republican presdential caucus took place, in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Fernando Salazar/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
Supporters cheer at the Trump For President rally at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 05: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the CFE Arena during a campaign stop on the campus of the University of Central Florida on March 5, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Primary voters head to the polls on March 15th in Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
WICHITA, KS - MARCH 5: A Donald Trump supporter stands in line to vote during the states Republican caucus on March 5, 2016 in Wichita, Kansas. People were standing in line for more than two hours to vote in the caucus. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
WICHITA, KS - MARCH 5: A man shows his support as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made a speech at a campaign rally on March 5, 2016 in Wichita, Kansas where the Republican party was staging one of its statewide caucus. Trump spoke of making America great again. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
WICHITA, KS - MARCH 5: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump makes a speech at a campaign rally on March 5, 2016 in Wichita, Kansas. The Republican party was holding its state wide caucus in several locations. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
WICHITA, KS - MARCH 5: An anti-Trump protester stands outside the convention center where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made a speech at a campaign rally on March 5, 2016 in Wichita, Kansas. About 100 protesters voiced their opposition to Trump. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
WICHITA, KS - MARCH 5: A veteran showed his support as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made a speech at a campaign rally on March 5, 2016 in Wichita, Kansas where the Republican party was staging one of its statewide caucus. Trump said he would help veterans. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
A protester chanting "Black Lives Matter" is escorted away as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, background, speaks at a campaign rally in New Orleans, Friday, March 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
WICHITA, KS - MARCH 5: Supporters displays their signs as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump makes a speech at a campaign rally on March 5, 2016 in Wichita, Kansas. The Republican party was holding its state wide caucus in several locations. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up a child he pulled from the crowd as he arrives to speak at a campaign rally in New Orleans, Friday, March 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in New Orleans, Friday, March 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in New Orleans, Friday, March 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in New Orleans, Friday, March 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
A protester and activist holds a sign for the "Islam Against Terrorism" before a campaign rally, Saturday, March 5, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
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The three officials declined to disclose a full list of countries whose diplomats have complained, but two said they included at least India, South Korea, Japan and Mexico.

U.S. officials said it was highly unusual for foreign diplomats to express concern, even privately, about candidates in the midst of a presidential campaign. U.S. allies in particular usually don't want to be seen as meddling in domestic politics, mindful that they will have to work with whoever wins.

German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel branded him a threat to peace and prosperity in an interview published on Sunday.

Trump's campaign did not respond to requests for comment on the private diplomatic complaints.

Japan's embassy declined to comment. The Indian and South Korean embassies did not respond to requests for comment.

A spokesperson for the Mexican government would not confirm any private complaints but noted that its top diplomat, Claudia Ruiz Massieu, said last week that Trump's policies and comments were "ignorant and racist" and that his plan to build a border wall to stop illegal immigration was "absurd."

The foreign officials have been particularly disturbed by the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim themes that the billionaire real estate mogul has pushed, according to the U.S. officials.

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Foreign diplomats voicing alarm to US officials about Trump
I told you @TIME Magazine would never pick me as person of the year despite being the big favorite They picked person who is ruining Germany
I would like to wish everyone, including all haters and losers (of which, sadly, there are many) a truly happy and enjoyable Memorial Day!
Just made the point at #NCGOPcon that "we have to protect our border & I think everyone here knows, nobody can build a wall like Trump!"
My twitter has become so powerful that I can actually make my enemies tell the truth.
China's Communist Party has now publicly praised Obama's reelection. They have never had it so good. Will own America soon.
While Jon Stewart is a joke, not very bright and totally overrated, some losers and haters will miss him & his dumb clown humor. Too bad!
Why is Obama playing basketball today? That is why our country is in trouble!
An 'extremely credible source' has called my office and told me that @BarackObama's birth certificate is a fraud.
Remember, I said Derek don't sell your Trump World Tower apartment...its been lucky for you. The day after he sold it, he broke his foot.
I never fall for scams. I am the only person who immediately walked out of my ‘Ali G’ interview
.@cher--I don’t wear a “rug”—it’s mine. And I promise not to talk about your massive plastic surgeries that didn’t work.
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
.@katyperry is no bargain but I don't like John Mayer--he dates and tells--be careful Katy (just watch!).
.@BetteMidler talks about my hair but I'm not allowed to talk about her ugly face or body --- so I won't. Is this a double standard?
It's Thursday. How much money did Barack Obama waste today on crony green energy projects?
Truly weird Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky reminds me of a spoiled brat without a properly functioning brain. He was terrible at DEBATE!
Hey @realDonaldTrump - In case you're looking for that tweet you deleted .. I got it right here. http://t.co/a6F98q5xGU
This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps,and our GW scientists are stuck in ice
Everyone knows I am right that Robert Pattinson should dump Kristen Stewart. In a couple of years, he will thank me. Be smart, Robert.
26,000 unreported sexual assults in the military-only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?
Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it! Please don't feel so stupid or insecure,it's not your fault
How amazing, the State Health Director who verified copies of Obama’s “birth certificate” died in plane crash today. All others lived
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European and Middle Eastern government representatives have expressed dismay to U.S. officials about anti-Muslim declarations by Trump that they say are being used in recruiting pitches by the Islamic State and other violent jihadist groups.

On Dec. 7, Trump's campaign issued a written statement saying that he was "calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."

Trump subsequently said in television interviews that American Muslims traveling abroad would be allowed to return to the country, as would Muslim members of the U.S. military or Muslim athletes coming to compete in the United States.

There are also concerns abroad that the United States would become more insular under Trump, who has pledged to tear up international trade agreements and push allies to take a bigger role in tackling Middle East conflicts.

"European diplomats are constantly asking about Trump's rise with disbelief and, now, growing panic," said a senior NATO official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"With the EU facing an existential crisis, there's more than the usual anxiety about the U.S. turning inward when Europe needs U.S. support more than ever."

Another of the senior U.S. officials said the complaints are coming mostly from mid-to-low ranking diplomats - described as "working level" - rather than from the most senior officials.

"The responses have ranged from amusement to befuddlement to curiosity," the official said. "In some cases, we've heard expressions of alarm, but those have been more in response to the anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiment as well as the general sense of xenophobia."

More than a hundred Republican foreign policy veterans pledged this week to oppose Trump, saying in an open letter that his proposals would undermine U.S. security.

"A LOT OF QUESTIONS"

On Tuesday, General Philip Breedlove, the United States' top military commander in Europe, said that the U.S. elections were stirring concerns among America's allies.

"I get a lot of questions from our European counterparts on our election process this time in general," said Breedlove, who did not mention Trump by name. "And I think they see a very different sort of public discussion than they have in the past."

While not confirming the content of private diplomatic contacts, some foreign officials acknowledged their governments' concerns about Trump.

A British official noted that in January, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "What Donald Trump says is, in my view, not only wrong, but actually it makes the work we need to do to confront and defeat the extremists more difficult."

A Chinese official referred to a statement last week from China's foreign ministry spokeswoman. Asked whether China was concerned about Trump's proposal to place high tariffs on Chinese goods, Hua Chunyin declined to comment on specific candidates. But she said "I want to stress" that China and the United States have "major responsibilities" in maintaining international political and economic stability.

Representatives of other countries publicly attacked by Trump, including Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam either had no comment or did not respond to requests for comments.

Several American foreign policy experts said foreign diplomats have complained to them as well.

"All foreign diplomats I've talked to are amazed at the Trump phenomenon and worried about it, especially in the Middle East and Europe," said Elliott Abrams, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank who handled Middle East affairs at the National Security Council from 2001 to 2009 under then-President George W. Bush.

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