Being Donald Trump’s toady has few benefits. No one knows this better than part time British Prime Minister and full time Trump sycophant Theresa May. Even as May continues her precarious high wire act in service to her most cherished goal, the desperate clinging to power at all costs, Trump has handed her another whopping embarrassment.
On the heels of Theresa May’s loss of two important cabinet ministers in the midst of her ceaseless Brexit compromises, Trump, never one to allow his poor judgment to interfere with his ignorance, added to her considerable woes when he opined that her latest attempt to patch her embattled Brexit plan together with a softer, less uncompromising divorce from Europe was, “[not] what the people voted for.”
Brexit is the decision, narrowly passed in a yes/no referendum two years ago, for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. While there were many and complicated reasons for votes pro and con, no one doubts, least of all Trump, the measure would never have succeeded but for bigotry. “I think that’s why you had Brexit in the first place,” Trump said in a rare lucid moment, “because of immigration.”
With his latest hamfisted intercession in matters better left to grownups, Trump has increased the burden for Theresa May and angered her fellow Tories. The last thing May needs or wants is a leadership fight, one she almost certainly will lose, and Trump is not helping her. To make things worse, Trump told The Sun that if the current “soft” Brexit continues, he’ll kill the U.S. trade deal with the UK.
Donald Trump, being an idiot, is probably unaware that he’s said anything wrong. Theresa May is now in the embarrassing situation of having to host and be nice to a man she probably loathes, but who has become incalculably more important to her because of a weakened Britain – weakened precisely because of Brexit. Meanwhile Trump wants Britain free of the European Union for the same reason Vladimir Putin wants Britain free of the European Union. Smaller pieces are easier to chew, swallow and digest.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.