It’s a widely observed fact of the Trump era that the sitting American President has little respect for the constitution and open disdain for the free press. Now, it appears he’s trying to export his authoritarian impulses to other western democracies.
In an insightful new report from Bloomberg News, it’s revealed that during a phone call last year between Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May, the president whined about the (much deserved) negative coverage he was receiving in the British press.
Fearful that any visit he made to the United Kingdom would be met with protests, Trump said he would only visit if May could promise that he’d receive a friendly welcome. That is to say, Trump requested a foreign leader find a way to prevent her citizens from openly exercising their civil rights to protest him.
It’s something right out of a dictator’s playbook and it immediately conjures images of fire hoses unleashed on crowds and police dogs tearing civilians to the ground. In other words, exactly the kind of brutality that Trump has so lovingly fetishized in his rhetoric. Once again, it begs the question of whether Trump would be pursuing a more aggressively fascist approach to the presidency if it were not for America’s robust system of checks and balances.
Bloomberg also digs into how the historic transatlantic relationship between the USA and UK has deteriorated under Trump, despite Donald’s childish pining for May to be his “Maggie,” a reference to the close cooperative relationship shared by former President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Within the British government, there was much debate over whether to offer an official state visit to Trump, during which he would stay at Buckingham Palace. As the highest honor the UK can offer to a foreign leader, it worried some members of May’s team because they thought it might appear like she was too eager to embrace a historically and globally unpopular president. In the end, the invitation was extended. So far, presumably due to his thin-skinned inability to face protestors, Trump has failed to make the visit.