First, because he talked so much and tweeted so much, he revealed much more of himself much earlier than other presidents. His ego, his neediness, his impulsiveness, and the strange irregular cycles of his working day—those were all noted and analyzed before any formal action of his presidency. They were noted not only by leaders, but by electorates—with the result that long before he had decided on what cooperation he wanted from, for example, Australia, his offensive words had limited the ability of Australia’s democratically accountable leaders to cooperate with him.
Second, foreign leaders have concluded that the shortest path to Trump’s heart runs through his wallet. Oil states such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have rushed to be helpful to the business interests of Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, seeking an advantage over regional rivals like Qatar. Authoritarian leaders who could hamper Trump-licensed businesses—like Turkey’s Recep Erdogan and Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines—have exploited their perceived leverage, acting with apparent impunity.
Third, Trump’s highly suspicious dealings with Russia before the election potentially put him at the mercy of countries in a position to embarrass him.