Many layers of humiliation

Julian Borger wonders how that “special relationship” is going these days.

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.

He’s draining the swamp.

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.

But after that it was all ↓↓↓

So what now? May and Europe want to salvage the nuclear deal with Iran that Trump wants to destroy, and they also agree on not getting into the jolly little nuclear war with North Korea which Trump is doing his best to set off.

The irony is that it is just such European unity of purpose that May is committed to undermine. Having a US president who is so erratic and extreme that he makes disagreements with EU seem petty by comparison is a bad look for a prime minister championing Brexit.

Tragic, isn’t it. The Brexit vote happened before Trump was nominated.

Can we do 2016 over again?

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