Trump continued his cowardly take on diplomacy during his visit to the U.K.
Trump on Friday insisted he didn’t criticize British Prime Minister Theresa May, one day after he gave an interview criticizing Theresa May. This continues his pattern of attacking international leaders when they are not present, and then cowardly walking back the criticism when he’s face-to-face with them.
In fact, Trump’s criticisms against May, as well as his attack on the mayor of London, and his claim that immigrants were ruining British culture, were so incendiary that they instantly created a raging controversy in England.
In his interview with the Sun, a Murdoch paper, Trump hit May hard for her handling of the issue, claiming she refused to take his advice on Brexit.
He also heaped praise on Boris Johnson, May’s now ex-foreign secretary, claiming the hardcore Brexit advocate “would be a great prime minister. I think he’s got what it takes.”
Trump suggested May’s Brexit strategy would “kill” any future trade deals with the U.S.
There was immediate, universal condemnation from the U.K. to what many in England saw as Trump’s meddling in domestic affairs, not to mention that it a stunning rebuke from Trump for the host leader of his visit.
On the liberal side, Labour Party foreign affairs spokeswoman Emily Thornberry said it was “extraordinarily rude of Donald Trump to behave like this. She is his host. What did his mother teach him? This is not the way you behave.”
And on the conservative side, MP Sarah Wollaston called Trump’s comments “repulsive” and “determined to insult.”
But when given the chance on Friday to publicly repeat his criticism of May to her face and in front of cameras, Trump wouldn’t.
He seemed to roll his eyes when asked by a reporter about his criticisms against May.
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) July 13, 2018
Then during Friday’s joint press conference with May, Trump insisted he “didn’t criticize” the prime minister.
Instead, Trump suggested the Sun left out all the complimentary things he said about May, and called the controversy “fake news.”
This repeats the dishonest blueprint from earlier in the week, when Trump arrived in Brussels, Belgium, for the annual NATO summit and immediately attacked Germany, claiming the longtime American ally is “totally controlled by Russia.”
But soon after, when he sat down in front of the cameras with Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump suddenly changed his tune. “We have a very, very good relationship with the Chancellor, we have a tremendous relationship with Germany,” he awkwardly announced.
Trump’s diplomatic wrecking ball tour comes just days before he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who must be cheering the chaos Trump is created among America’s closest friends.