Julian Borger writes: It was some poor official’s job this morning to tell Theresa May that while she slept, the relationship with the US became special for all the wrong reasons.
It is at least historic. No US president in modern times has addressed a UK prime minister with the open peevishness and contempt of Donald Trump’s tweet telling May to mind her own business.
George W Bush’s offhand “Yo Blair”, caught on an open mic in 2006, did not show much respect either, but at least it was meant to be friendly. We are a very long way away from such halcyon partnerships as Churchill-Roosevelt and Reagan-Thatcher.
Trump could not even be bothered to get May’s Twitter handle right. The diss had to be corrected.
There are many layers of humiliation here for May to get her head around over breakfast. Not only is it personally demeaning, it is also politically toxic.
The prospect of a successful or at least survivable Brexit is posited on a strong relationship with Washington. In that regard, May’s successful rush to Washington in January to become the first foreign leader received at the Trump White House was presented as a coup.
Under EU rules, the two countries are not allowed even to start negotiating a trade deal until the UK is truly out of Europe, but the warm words and the pictures of the Trump and May holding hands at least struck an encouraging tone. The prime minister got to Washington in time to help the state department and Congress stop the president lifting sanctions on Russia, and squeezed out of him his first grudging words of support for Nato.
It has been downhill since then. [Continue reading…]