The ‘special bond’ between Brits and Americans can be blown to bits by a tweet.
It is difficult to take the bizarre tweets that President Trump spreads on a daily basis among his 43 million followers seriously. But they do have a tangible effect: They create an often bleak and unfriendly reality.
By retweeting anti-Muslim videos from the far-right group Britain First, Trump provoked a storm of outraged responses. Why did he give this pathetic little club of hatemongers a spot on the world stage?
That the ‘Muslim migrant,’ who beat a Dutch boy on crutches in one of the videos, was, in reality, neither Muslim nor a migrant, does not matter, according to Trump. According to the White House, he just wanted to put the finger on the problem of Muslim terrorism.
British Prime Minister Theresa May, who denounced Trump’s advertisement for Britain First, had to bear the brunt of a response from the tweeter in the White House. “Don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom,” he advised May.
For May, Trump’s overt sneer is exceptionally painful: She was the first world leader to visit Trump at the White House and to invite him for a state visit to her country.
Trump’s angry outburst must be food for thought for the British, now that they are getting ready to leave the European Union. For decades, they have taken pride in their ‘special bond’ with the United States, but with Trump at the helm, that privileged position has become very uncertain.
The Brexiters trusted the fact that the loss of ties with its European Union partners would be amply compensated by the tightening of the relationship with Trump, whom they considered their ideological ally.
But that is a naive idea. It is much more likely that they will be left behind with an extremely unpredictable partner who can blow up the ‘special bond’ with one nightly tweet.