I see a “catastrophe in the making”, said Jonathan Powell in The Guardian. Donald Trump represents everything British diplomats have feared for more than 100 years: “a nativist, protectionist and isolationist” who believes the rest of the world “can go hang” is entering the White House, and his arrival could not have come at a worse time. The US will be “turning its back on the world”, just as Britain is about to cut its ties with the EU. “We are going to find ourselves very lonely indeed.” And forget the idea that Britain will continue to hold a special place in America’s heart, said Anne Applebaum in The Mail on Sunday. “I doubt Trump has ever heard the term ‘special relationship’ except perhaps in conversations about somebody’s mistress.”
Well at least our Prime Minister, who last December dismissed Trump’s policies as “divisive, unhelpful and wrong”, is now making warm overtures to him, said Imogen Groome in The Independent. Many have denounced her for doing so, but instead of getting “bogged down in hatred for every political outcome of 2016”, let’s face a few facts. Obama said Britain would be “at the back of the queue” for any trade deal with the US. Trump, by contrast, says he wants to scrap a trade deal with the EU “in favour of individual deals with individual countries”. And there’s good reason to think our nation will be close to the top of his list. The president-elect has close ties with the UK – his mother was born in Scotland where he also owns two golf courses – and he speaks of Britain as a “great ally”. Like him or not, a Trump presidency could be good for Britain. Not least by strengthening our position in the Brexit talks, said James Forsyth in The Sun. The Remainers’ claim that Britain would be isolated if it left the EU looks a lot weaker when the president-elect of the most powerful nation in the world is a Brexit enthusiast.
Don’t be so sure, said Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer. Last week May had to wait in line behind nine other national leaders for her chance to “exchange banalities about the special relationship”. Worse still, the first British politician Trump deigned to meet and take into his confidence wasn’t our PM, said The Mail on Sunday, it was UKIP’s Nigel Farage – “a gold-plated snub” if ever there was one. It is humiliating, lamented Rachel Sylvester in The Times. “The pinstriped, pint-swilling, chain-smoking, small-minded buffoon seems to have become the face of Britain on the world stage.” Actually, the idea of Farage acting as go-between in Washington isn’t as “bizarre or unwelcome” as it appears, said The Independent. “Post-Brexit, the UK needs all the friends it can get”: if that means exploiting Farage’s weird “rapport with The Donald”, so be it. But don’t expect any trade deal with the US to be forthcoming. Trump is clear that his priority is to bring jobs back to the US by erecting trade barriers, “and there’s nothing special about British exports that makes them in some way harmless to the American competition.” The British “should not get their hopes up too high”.
With Farage: weird “rapport”