After making disparaging remarks about the Prime Minister’s handling of Brexit, he dismissed these as ‘fake news’ before raising, once again, the prospect of a transformative US-UK trade deal when this country leaves the European Union.
Clearly enamoured that Mrs May and her husband Philip had arranged a private tour of Blenheim Palace, Winston Churchill’s birthplace, the PM deserves credit for her staging of this visit and remaining impeccably dignified as she contended with her guest’s many sensitivities. Though not always clear, the Prime Minister does have the respect of major world leaders, particularly on security matters, and President Trump did allude to this.
Yet, while there will be much focus on Brexit trade talks after the US leader began his European tour with some disobliging comments which are part of his political DNA, there is only one constituency that truly matters to President Trump – blue collar America. It is this core demographic who swung the 2016 presidential election and who will determine whether he is re-elected in 2020. Tough talk on trade will appeal to his ‘America First’ agenda.
However, while this Chequers summit came on the second anniversary of Mrs May becoming PM, the ‘special relationship’ between the USA and Britain will endure because security, defence and diplomatic co-operation is its cornerstone while politicians – and their whims – come and go.