The Sun is the only media outlet to have interviewed Trump so far on his UK visit. As the President of the United States of America, Trump had his pick of the media crop, but he chose a 40p tabloid. The paper that a YouGov poll suggests that 52% of people consider to be fairly to very right wing, is well-known for expressing xenophobic and homophobic attitudes in the past, not to mention its less than exhaustive efforts to get rid of page 3. Through choosing The Sun, Trump has chosen to voice his opinions in yet another echo chamber, much like the scores of yes-men he surrounds himself with daily.
So far Trump has made a lot of noise it what was never going to be a quiet trip across the pond. He’s already questioned Theresa May’s fragile position as the head of state and proven himself typically bashful in destabilising the careful balancing act that she has constructed, and then reconstructed, following numerous resignations.
He revealed in his interview that he thinks Boris Johnson would make a more effective Prime Minister. Boris’ resignation appears to be laying the paving stones for a leadership contest, and Trump’s comments are quite clearly meant to aggravate the situation further. In his already packed schedule, he also found the time to accuse Sadiq Khan of causing the increase in terrorism and crime in the capital.
Of all the pies that he stuck his infamously short fingers into however, none were larger than that cooked up at Chequers. When it came to that ever-so-simple issue of leaving the European Union, he said to The Sun: “I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me”.
Theresa May was right to ignore Trump’s advice, whether we agree with her on policy or not.
In fact, she should not be afraid to publicly dismiss Trump, not just on the issue of Brexit, but on more of his what he spouts where his input is neither asked for nor required. This seems unlikely however. In all the photographs of his trip so far, he and Melania appear comfortably confident on foreign soil, whilst both Theresa and Phillip May both seem slightly awkward and uneasy on what should be terra firma. They are visible cautious of preserving this ‘special relationship’, while Trump places little concern on decades of cohesion and mutual respect.
The rationale for our decision to leave the European Union was that we did not want our country to be externally governed by unaccountable foreign politicians, so let’s not now sign over our sovereignty to Donald Trump. This is what will happen if Theresa May puts courteousness over country.
Yes, we should be protesting, but rather than kicking up a fuss over Trump’s visit, we need to protest for clarity at home. The outcome of the Chequers talks provided us with little insight of what the final deal with the EU will look like, despite the vote to leave happening two years ago now.
We should be protesting the lack of confidence our leadership has, as well as Theresa May’s own unwillingness not only when it comes to challenging Trump’s wrecking-ball approach to foreign leadership, but also the over-inflated egos of her own Conservative backbenchers.
We must ask why we are protesting a democratically elected foreign head of state, but why we did not bat an eyelid as the future of this country is decided behind closed doors. We have become consumed by a herd mentality: fashionable protesting for the sake of protesting, while the biggest issues affecting this country remain unchallenged.
This type of organised disapproval will serve only to further inflate one man’s already over-inflated ego. Like a baby, Trump appears to thrive on the attention, regardless of whether it’s good or bad. Knowing that thousands of individuals have left work, missed school or paused Love Island to protest his visit will make his head grow even bigger. We should not give him this pleasure.