The Trump London Dilemma: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
After rumors swirled about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle choosing to invite former President Barack Obama to their royal wedding over current President Donald Trump, it just added to an already growing crisis.
Trump confirmed to British Prime Minister Theresa May that he would visit the United Kingdom in February, marking his first visit to the Commonwealth since he took office one year ago.
To add insult to injury, rumors crept out that the Queen was not keen on meeting with Trump, and the president himself noted to Prime Minister May that he would not visit the U.K. unless its residents supported a visit.He was also allegedly concerned about the possibility of mass protests after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn encouraged followers to send a “clear message” to the president by publicly protesting his visit. It has been reported that more than one million labor party supporters petitioned for a cancellation of a state visit.
The latest London-related, late-night tweet from Trump explained the cancellation this way, “Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for ‘peanuts,’ only to build a new one in an off location for $1.2 billion. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!” He was supposed to open the new embassy on his visit, but it appears that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will take over the task.
The old embassy was not sold for “peanuts” by the Obama administration, as the United States did not own the property. The decision to sell was made in 2008 by the Bush administration.Trump has canceled his visit and reneged on his promise. There does not appear to be a rescheduling. And now rumors suggest that he canceled because of a potential lackluster reception, or even from Trump’s rocky relationship with Prime Minister May. The pair have traded barbs over social media about Trump’s tweets over anti-Muslim propaganda as well as his decisions regarding Jerusalem. On the world stage, the motion not to go looks childish: “We don’t agree, so I’ll stay home.”
It was likely hoped by many that the trip would serve to mend broken fences and passive hostility between the two nations that have existed since Trump took office; to recapture the friendly, supportive relations the U.S. and U.K. had in the Obama administration as well as in previous administrations dating back decades. The cancellation, especially since it hasn’t been followed by a rescheduled calendar, has set a dark shadow over that relationship.
Additionally, the current Michael Wolff bestseller, Fire and Fury, paints the president as being surrounded by officials who question his “intelligence and fitness for office.” Whether these depictions are true or “fake news,” you can’t un-ring a bell, and the damage has already been done.
It may very well be that Trump is trying to smooth over his habits of insulting other political leaders, countries, citizens, and just about anyone whose opinions differ from his; but it’s unlikely. His ongoing lack of knowledge about foreign policy and diplomacy, along with his taunts to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un surely has international leaders asking the same question.
So the question remains: Is President Trump wallowing in self-pity over a simple wedding invite snub, or the potential for a cold greeting, political backlash, or mass protests? Citizens can only hope he has not irreversibly damaged ties with a centuries-old ally.