Published on 12 July 2018
As President Donald Trump arrives in the UK, Dr Kevin Yuill, an expert in American Studies at the University of Sunderland, gives his views on everything from the ‘Trump Baby’ to Brexit under Donald.
During his two-day working-visit to the country, President Trump will spend time with the Queen and Prime Minister before flying to Scotland to spend the weekend at his golf resort.
It is his first visit to Britain since winning the 2016 presidential election and planned protests across the UK are expected to see thousands take to the streets.
Here Dr Yuill outlines his views on some of the topics likely to creep up during the controversial visit.
- The Flying Trump Baby
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has allowed the “angry Trump baby”, a blimp of a caricature of Trump – orange, with tiny hands and in a nappy - to fly above the capital.
Some have objected that it is disrespectful to the leader of the free world and endangers the famed ‘Special Relationship’ between the UK and the USA. Others reply that it is a demonstration of free speech we allegedly enjoy in the UK. I say “allegedly” because it is difficult to imagine that a caricature of Obama would, well, sail through with no trouble.
The notoriously thin-skinned Trump has yet to mention the blimp.
Unlike Obama, who advised people of the UK to vote remain in the EU referendum - one of the great charms of this nation is that it characteristically stuck two fingers up to the great and the good who offered helpful advice on how to vote - Trump said that Brexit was “a good thing” in 2016 and has made approving noises since then.
Boris Johnson, in a leaked memo, thought that Trump would do a better job of negotiating Brexit: “Imagine Trump doing Brexit,” he said. “There’d be all sorts of breakdowns, all sorts of chaos. Everyone would think he’d gone mad. But actually you might get somewhere. It’s a very, very good thought.”
Go in hard, I suspect Trump would say. Never negotiate from a position of weakness.
- Boris Johnson
Perhaps because of an affinity based on similarly bizarre hairstyles, President Trump positively simpered when he said: “Boris Johnson is a friend of mine, he’s been very, very nice to me, very supportive. And I maybe will speak to him when I get over there. I like Boris Johnson, I’ve always liked him”.
Yet, Trump is anything but predictable. Who knows which female politician might take his eye if he can see beyond Boris’s blond haystack? One female politician who, after upbraiding Trump on several bizarre tweets about Britain, is unlikely to be on the favourite list: Theresa May.
- Record to date
On a more serious note, it is possible to overlook Trump’s achievements because of some of the ridiculous statements he makes. For me, his biggest and best move so far was the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to succeed the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. It is also too soon to know what his overtures to Kim Jong-Un will bring. However, Trump might well list his tax cuts or withdrawal from the Paris climate deal as his own personal achievements. He might also list deregulation or the survival of his travel ban on Muslim countries or even the recognition of Jerusalem. It would be interesting to know what it was.
- World security
So, who is the biggest threat to world security right now?
Actually, it is probably Trump himself, but he isn’t going to say so. It is doubtful that he would publically label Putin a major threat. Trump’s least favourite leader used to be Kim Jong-Un but since their love-in earlier this year, the acrimony is fading. At the moment, it is undoubtedly doe-eyed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Last month, the US and its longtime allies Europe and Canada stood on the brink of a trade war after Mr Trump threatened to impose harsh duties on steel and aluminium.