Home Immigration News Trump UK visit: President kicks off trip with flurry of insults and unease among US allies

Trump UK visit: President kicks off trip with flurry of insults and unease among US allies

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Author: Kim Sengupta

Donald Trump kicked off a four-day visit to the UK by describing it is an unstable “hot spot” where there are a “lot of resignations” from the government. But it is also a place, he held, where the natives “like me a lot, yes like me a lot….agree with me on immigration”

That was the US president’s considered view on Britain before he flew there after one of the most crucial and extraordinary summit’s in Nato’s history; a gathering in which he tried to create mayhem from the hour he arrived.

It was perhaps fitting that one of his last official acts before heading for the flight was to hold a press conference in which he announced he had forced other Nato leaders to agree to raising defence spending to unprecedented levels at the fastest ever rate – only to have these leaders line up to deny this, and his own officials to fail to provide evidence to support the claim.

Mr Trump arrives in the UK with the utmost precautions taken to keep him away from the vast protest marches against the visit. He would, however, see them on his favourite TV channel, Fox, as he will also see images of a giant inflatable “Trump Baby” in nappies flying in the sky.

The extremely thin-skinned Mr Trump will not like that, especially as his trip to Britain comes in the middle of what is being viewed as his attempts to shape a new world order, after a “slash and burn” approach at Nato similar to the one at the G7 in Canada last month. The next stage of his journey takes him to Helsinki, and a meeting with Vladimir Putin, the man whose shadow has hung over the Trump presidency from its beginning.

It had been forecast ever since Mr Trump’s unexpected election victory that he would try to create a new status quo. A combination of senior administration officials and the Republican Party hierarchy had stayed his hand. But now, with most of those moderating voices having gone from the administration in its extraordinary churn, and the Republican Party being moulded to his image rather than the reverse, Mr Trump appears to be in a position to pursue his aims.

The investigation by Robert Mueller into whether Mr Trump was the Muscovian candidate in the US election continues and it is almost certain that the special envoy will not present his report before the mid-term elections in November. But the fact remains that the US president, who criticises and insults people across the world on an industrial scale, has never, ever said a bad word about Mr Putin. This has led, inevitably, to Mr Trump’s many critics asking: “Why exactly is the Donald so apprehensive about offending President Putin in any way?”

Speaking about his travels at his Brussels press conference, Mr Trump said: “I have Nato, I have the UK, which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin. Frankly, Putin might be the easiest of them all. Who would think, who would think?”

“Is he my enemy? He is not my enemy… Hopefully someday he will be a friend. He has said some nice things about me. I actually do have a little gift for him. You’ll find out that gift, you’ll find out that gift when I give him.”

Some of America’s allies will be wondering with trepidation what that gift will be. Mr Trump refused to say whether he would press Mr Putin on the annexation of Crimea, or even if he would stop US forces from taking part in exercises on Russia’s Baltic borders.

So what can the UK, not only a Nato ally but a country supposedly in a “special relationship” with America, expect? With Mr Putin, on an immediate level, Theresa May is going to ask the US president to provide information on the novichok attack in Salisbury, according to Downing Street sources. Britain has accused Moscow of being responsible for the use of the nerve agent, which the Russian government denies.

The US threw out 60 Russian officials, working under diplomatic credentials, in the wave of Western expulsion of Russians which followed the attempted assassination of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

But Mr Trump is later said to have complained that he had been misled and demanded to know why other countries had expelled fewer people. He appeared not to understand, according to State Department officials, when it was explained to him that the figures tended to reflect, in proportion, the size of Russian delegations in different countries.

One also may wonder how much help Ms May will get on a wider scale from the US president. Speaking in Brussels, he stated: “I would say Brexit is Brexit. The people voted to break it up so I would imagine that’s what they would do, but maybe they’re taking a different route – I don’t know if that is what they voted for.”

Ms May insists that what the UK voted for is reflected in the Brexit white paper which has just been published. The fact remains that the blueprint the prime minister has put forward will make it extremely difficult for the UK to have a separate trade deal with the US.

It remains to be seen how much importance Mr Trump, who sees much of his foreign policy through the prism of commerce, will attach to the “special relationship” under these circumstances.

Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-uk-visit-nato-allies-comments-insults-germany-london-protest-a8444996.html

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