President Donald Trump and Brexit Britain have a spooky synergy. After all, the last time Donald Trump came to Britain was the day after the Brexit vote. Was it a coincidence? A shrewd bit of PR? Or destiny? Trump himself seem to believe it was written in the populism stars. ‘I think I see a big parallel,’ he said, speaking of himself and Brexit.
Now, as Theresa May’s pro-Brexit government struggles, he’s confirmed that he will – at last! – be visiting Great Britain. And it’s on Friday 13th July, when there’s going to be a partial solar eclipse. Spooky, as I said.
This trip is far too late, given that Britain and America have been great allies for a long time. But the British government has been cowed by the fear of massive anti-Trump protests on the streets of London. It’s been a bit pathetic.
Finally, prompted no doubt by the cringe-inducing bromance between Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron, May’s government has confirmed the trip. Number 10 has at last realised that, satisfying as it is for self-righteous anti-Trumpists to shout about never, ever accepting the Donald on our shores, it’s more important that the British government stays on good terms with the most powerful man on the planet. Even if he is Donald Trump.
It’s not hard to see what Trump is doing. He is playing France and Britain off against each other. It’s how he does real estate, romance, and international relations. He’s spent much of the week fondling French President Emmanuel Macron in front of the cameras. This has left Atlanticists fretting about the end of the special relationship, and brought the May administration to heel. The protests will be huge. Lots of Brits will want to make sure Trump ‘doesn’t feel welcome’, which is their right, of course, but it is lacking in grace and short-sighted. State and even non-state visits to Britain from US Presidents are not just about who is President. They are about the relationship between the two countries. Trump doesn’t care what you think. And the relationship between America and Britain is too important.