Faced with a tough decision, the president has consistently blinked, giving in to his opponents. Trump has mocked former Secretary of State John Kerry for his supposedly poor negotiation powers, argued that multiple past international agreements suffered from weak-kneed diplomacy, and criticized British Prime Minister Theresa May, a close U.S. ally, for her conduct of the discussion on the U.K.’s departure from the European Union.
The president talks a good—or at least aggressive—game, but he doesn’t always walk it. The Iran deal is one of the few cases—which also include ditching the Paris climate agreement, leaving the Trans Pacific Partnership, and moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem—where Trump has stuck to the hard-nosed approach he promised during the campaign. But he twice flinched on Iran, too. In October 2017, his first chance to walk away from the deal, he made threatening noises but kicked the deal over to Congress and didn’t withdraw. He passed up another chance in January.
Foreign leaders were among the first to notice Trump was a pushover.