US President Donald Trump rolled into the UK on Monday, dishing out scorching insults like it was going out of fashion. Surely Brexit Britain has suffered enough humiliation already?
Before he had even touched down on the tarmac, Trump had already branded London’s mayor a “stone cold loser” who has “done a terrible job.” But he had set the ball rolling days before, calling Prince Harry’s wife Meghan Markle “nasty” — and wading into the Brexit debate, advising politicians to “walk away” from the deal with the EU and touting the negotiating skills of Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.
It would be difficult to imagine a role reversal; a British PM using an official US state visit to tweet put-downs at high-profile American political figures or berating members of Congress over domestic failures during their stay. Yet, despite the humiliating comments, British submissiveness to American power has been on full display, as Trump enjoyed meet and greets with the Queen and various other royals, all of whom, naturally, acted like nothing untoward had been said hours earlier.
Some political figures did take umbrage to “meddling” by their trans-Atlantic cousins. Former Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind complained about the “unprecedented” intervention by the “narcissistic and egocentric” Trump, apparently forgetting that his predecessor Barack Obama very publicly weighed into the Brexit debate back in 2016, on the ‘Remain’ side.
Farage called Obama’s interference “disgraceful” at the time, but on Monday he tweeted that Trump clearly “wants Brexit to happen” and is a “true friend” to Britain.
Between him and Rifkind, it appears that British politicians don’t consider American meddling as a problem per se, but depending on who is doing it and to what end.
Britain is going through tough times, with ongoing Brexit drama not doing much for its preferred international image as a mature, shot-calling democracy — and Trump’s antics are hardly helping matters either.
But, insults or not, no expense was spared for the Trump tornado, as the UK’s American guests spent Monday evening enjoying a banquet feast that took six months to plan — at tables that reportedly took three days to set.
It’s all about maintaining that legendary “special relationship” the two countries like to invoke so much. Indeed, a relationship in which one partner brazenly reprimands the other in public on a regular basis while the other shuts up and takes the verbal beating is truly a special kind.
Perhaps attempting to scale back the tough talk, Trump tweeted later on Monday that the London leg of his trip is “going really well” and the relationship with the UK is “very strong.” Trump is scheduled to leave the UK and fly to Ireland on Wednesday. Let’s see if he can go two more days without unleashing on his British friends once again.
By Danielle Ryan