Trump's visit to the UK was disastrous

Trump causes a stir in May's visit with Brexit criticism

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In the cheesy comedy film Love, actually In 2003, Hugh Grant played a British Prime Minister who had to endure a visit from an arrogant and sexist US President. In the press conference, the tormented head of government vented his feelings. Relations with the USA have deteriorated: "A friend who pushes us around is no longer a friend. And since such people only react to strength, the president should be prepared for the fact that from now on I will show more strength." , he said.

Would Theresa May have liked to have spoken these sentences when she stepped in front of the cameras with Donald Trump on Friday afternoon? The 61-year-old would have to have a heart of stone if she didn't feel bullied by the current White House resident. But the Conservative wouldn't celebrate the completion of her sophomore year on Downing Street that day if she hadn't learned to control herself. So she reels off everything they say: Relations with the USA are excellent and would get even better after Brexit in March - if the two countries signed the planned free trade agreement.

Difficult diplomacy

Only once in her opening statement, May let it be known that it was not just cozy behind closed doors. On the world stage you have to be "occasionally ready to say things that others don't want to hear". It has to be it, the allusion to the newspaper interview with which Trump deliberately enlarged the crisis of the British government over leaving the EU. The US president is quoted in the tabloid The Sun as saying that he had told May how she should conduct negotiations with the EU. "But she didn't listen to me." The close cooperation with Brussels sought in the new White Paper is "not what the people voted for". On the other hand, he praises Brexit cheerleader Boris Johnson, who has resigned as foreign minister, for his "right attitude: he would be a great prime minister."

The Friday edition of the million dollar newspaper with the headline "May ruined Brexit" is the number one topic in government and parliamentary circles from Thursday evening. In the joint press conference on Friday afternoon, the visitor tried to downplay the interview as "fake news". He thus ties in with the desperate attempts to contain the damage that Mays and Trump's teams had undertaken from early Friday morning to weaken the protocol-based declaration of war. The Brexit White Paper was only presented on Thursday afternoon, it was said in Downing Street. The President said "never anything bad" about May, on the contrary, considers her a "really great person," said Sarah Huckerbee Sanders, spokeswoman for the White House. The British Foreign Secretary of State Alan Duncan denied to the BBC that Trump had behaved impolite; As a host you will in any case continue to treat the controversial guest in a friendly and courteous manner.


The President appreciates it. At the press conference after his talks with May at her country house Checkers, Trump showered the hostess with compliments: May was "very special", he felt great affection for her. In addition to the head of government listening with a stoic expression, the cocky New Yorker raves about the "very, very strong relationships". That there are fundamental differences of opinion about the importance of NATO and world trade, that the Prime Minister recently also publicly criticized the treatment of illegal immigrants in the USA - forgiven and forgotten everything.

Only once do the diametrically different worldviews of Trump and May collide. The immigration of the past decades was "bad for Europe", claims Trump across the board and clearly equates immigrants with terrorists. But May affirmed: "All in all, immigration was good for our country. Control over our borders is part of it."

Trump's first official appointment on the island was a visit to Blenheim Castle near Oxford on Thursday evening, the birthplace of the famous World War II premier Winston Churchill (1874-1965). There the President and his wife Melania were received with military honors by May and her husband Philip, before the couple and industrial representatives ate Scottish salmon, English beef and strawberries with cream. At the gala dinner, Trump spoke very positively about future trade relations between the Atlantic countries, said Foreign Trade Minister Liam Fox.

That sounded very different in Trump's Sun interview. The softer Brexit line set a week ago, which resulted in the resignation of Johnson and Brexit Minister David Davis, makes the envisaged free trade agreement impossible, it says. "We'd have to negotiate with the EU again instead of the United Kingdom," said Trump. In fact, the British want a free trade area for goods with the EU; for this they want to apply "a common set of rules", ie the EU rules.

Tea with the Queen

Because Brexiteers are raging inside and outside the conservative faction, Trump's words are grist to their mill. "Friends and allies should stick together," wrote Barack Obama two years ago in the British studbook; the EU does not reduce British influence, but increases it. Brexit champion Boris Johnson attributed Obama's stance at the time to his "half-Kenyan origins and aversion to the British Empire".

The incumbent celebrates his half-Scottish origins this weekend with a visit to his golf course near Glasgow. On Friday, a cup of tea with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle rounded off the presidential couple's 24-hour program of visits. (Sebastian Borger from London, July 13th, 2018)