As President Trump prepares for his state visit to the United Kingdom on Monday, he’s managed to offend the British royal family — and the whole of Britain — before even stepping foot in the country.
The controversy started when Trump insulted the newest adult member of the royal family, the Duchess of Sussex — known as Meghan Markle before she left her featured role on the TV series Suits to marry Prince Harry, son of Prince Charles and the late Lady Diana.
The president was being interviewed by the Rupert Murdoch-owned British tabloid The Sun when he was informed of the Duchess’ comments during the 2016 presidential elections that called Trump “misogynistic” and “divisive” and pledged her vote to his rival Hillary Clinton.
Claiming ignorance of the fairly well-publicized opinions of his policies by the bi-racial Duchess, Trump responded with a reply that was completely in line with his total lack of diplomatic skills.
“I didn’t know that. What can I say? I didn’t know that she was nasty,” the president said, echoing his description of Hillary Clinton as a “nasty woman.”
With much of Britain up in arms over Trump’s official state visit and the Trump Baby balloon set to fly again over Trafalgar Square during protests scheduled during his visit to express opposition to his international policies, the president must have realized that he was skating on thin ice with his retaliatory insult.
He quickly tried to reverse course by telling the newspaper that “she will do excellently” and that she will make “a very good” American princess.
With President Trump already being accorded only the bare minimum of official pomp and circumstance normally shown to a visiting dignitary of such an important international ally — and given that the heir to the throne, Prince Charles, is a staunch environmentalist with diametrically opposed views on climate change than the president — Trump’s diplomatic gaffe is sure to make tensions with the royal family during his visit even more extreme than they would have otherwise been.
Britain’s own political crisis —with a caretaker government split over how to move forward with Brexit, its chaotically planned departure from the European Union, after the resignation of Prime Minister Theresa May — only makes the timing of Trump’s visit more awkward, particularly since he plans on meeting with the right-wing British nationalist leaders of the push for a “hard Brexit” without a negotiated trade deal with the EU, a lack of which would likely throw the UK into economic turmoil.
We can only take comfort in the fact that on the president’s second foreign visit of the month, at least the American shores will be free of Trump’s presence for a few more days.
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Original reporting by Tom Newton Dunn at The Sun.