As condolences from world leaders flooded in after the attacks on London this weekend President Trump once again flouted the most basic of diplomatic norms.
Although he offered US support to London in the wake of the horrific terror attack which killed 7, he also used the tragedy to highlight the importance of his own failed travel ban and to insult London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
To try and settle a score with the Mayor of a grieving allied city is, although the word has begun to cease meaning in relation to Trump, extraordinary.
His twitter thread reveals a meandering train of thought; capricious and often defensive. But even in more traditional forums – such as a NATO meeting – he is unable to restrain his volatile impulses.
The speech he delivered in Brussels about the future of the alliance only served to insult the other members, while revealing a near total lack of understanding of the mechanisms of the group.
It came as little surprise, therefore, when Trump took to the White House Rose Garden last Thursday to declare the US was removing itself from the historic Paris Climate Accord. The decision was taken in the face of international derision, the urging of some of the most influential people in the world and Trump’s own daughter. Yet it seems Trump is beginning to enjoy the fact it is his voice that matters most.
Amid international outrage and rebuke from foreign leaders all the UK offered was a meekly worded press statement citing the Prime Minister’s “disappointment”. It wasn’t good enough. Just as her failure to defend London and it’s Mayor aren’t good enough.
Trump has shown himself to be a fickle ally and a friend of tyrants. At a time when Britain’s place on the world stage is more precarious than ever we must be prepared to stand alongside our European allies, and prove that we meant it when we said we want to be part of Europe, just not the EU.
Yesterday as the leader of the free world levelled another barrage of criticism from the Oval Office at Sadiq Khan, Prime Minister May would not condemn his words.
She voiced her support for Khan but fell short of openly criticising Trump. That was wrong. She can no longer labour under the false narrative that by refraining from criticism we can somehow earn favour with the President. US Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross has already prioritized plans for the UK to be at the ‘front of the queue’ for a trade deal after Brexit.
Teresa May cannot appease her way to a working relationship with Trump. He has shown himself to be incapable of maintaining a working relationship with his own administration, let alone another nation.
On Monday he rebuffed his own legal team for watering down his travel ban they are taking to the Supreme Court.
Britain must be unafraid to stand up for itself against an old ally. We have far more to lose if we alienate our European neighbours by placating Trump than if we stand alongside them against him.
However long Trump’s presidency lasts history will not forgive a weak British Government for its failure to call out his destructive words and actions. We should not forgive it either.