Even by the stressed standards of relations between Europe and the United States in the Trump era, European Council President Donald Tusk's Wednesday criticisms were unusually cutting. "He has made us realize if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm".
The 28 anxious EU leaders are gathering in the Bulgarian capital for discussions over dinner on Wednesday on how to salvage the nuclear deal and European business dealings with Iran from Trump's sanctions and how to avoid a trade war in an escalating tariff dispute with the United States.
Tusk said EU leaders would use the summit to discuss the Iran deal along with innovation, the European future for the western Balkans, and Trump's trade policies.
Their discussions on Iran will come a day after Tehran's foreign minister held talks in Brussels with his British, French and German counterparts in a bid to salvage the deal that Trump has pulled out of.
Speaking at a Western Balkans summit in Sofia, Bulgaria on Wednesday, Tusk didn't hold back in his assessment of the USA, saying European Union members should unite to face "a new phenomenon - the capricious assertiveness of the American administration".
At the start of an EU summit in Bulgaria, the European Council president offered a withering condemnation of Mr Trump's White House.
In a scathing attack, former Polish prime minister Tusk compared the Trump administration with Europe's long-time adversaries, Moscow and Beijing.
Tusk also demanded that Trump grant a permanent exemption to the European Union from threatened tariffs on steel and aluminum, and he rejected as "absurd" any assertion by the that such tariffs could be justified on national security grounds.
He added: "Europe must do everything in its power to protect, in spit of today's mood, the transatlantic bond, but at the same time we must be prepared for those scenarios where we have to act on our own".
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker also remarked last week that the European Union should replace the United States as a global leader after the latter "as an worldwide actor has lost vigor, and because of it, in the long term, influence". Tusk said Europe planned to stand its ground.
Theresa May will travel to the Bulgarian capital where she will join a working dinner with her fellow European leaders, including European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
Tusk also mentioned looking into ways to protect European companies from "negative consequences of the United States decision". "We need to bring back reality in this discussion, which is not the case today", Behind their message of unity and firmness, some member states seem open to tolerating limited quotas from the United States on metals imports while others want a harder line, diplomats said.