Better off without it
Mr Trump is never going to get that support today.
He is the elected leader of a very great nation, but his arrival here this week is a visit that this country would be better off without. It shames those who offered it so prematurely and foolishly. Little good and much difficulty is likely to come of it. There are many reasons for feeling the unusual sense of outrage and violation that attach to the Trump visit to Britain. Mr Trump’s personal character and behaviour are more than enough reason for many. They certainly belong on any list of objections to his presence here, for he is one of the most unsuitable people to hold his great democratic office in American history. But it is Mr Trump’s politics, his expressed views, his actual actions, and above all his effect and his intentions that are the fundamental issues.
The charge list against Mr Trump is long, unignorable and impossible to tolerate. Morally, it is headed by the racism of the immigration policies he was so proud of in Brussels yesterday, the cruelty of their enforcement, especially in the separation of children from their parents, the racism to which he gives encouragement at home, and the taunting and visceral threat to the rights and dignities of women, people of colour, and LGBT people, who are all now directly threatened by his latest supreme court nomination. He has ignorantly spurned the threat from climate change, has sucked up to tyrants, has conducted an unprecedented campaign against the free press, launched a trade war, insulted America’s allies, praised America’s enemies and made dangerous mischief in the domestic and regional politics of countless parts of the world. Only this week, heading for Europe, he insulted Germany and said meeting Vladimir Putin would be easy work compared with his meetings in Brussels and Britain.
Over the century there have been US presidential visitors to Britain whose policies were destructive, with whom we did not agree and whose presence here as guests was difficult to navigate. Mr Trump, though, is different. He is unique in his egotistical disrespect for international order and agreement, his overt malice towards long-term allies and institutions, his shameless disregard for truth, and his clear willingness to make trouble and do direct harm to European nations like ours. This puts him into an altogether different category from his predecessors. All these, from Wilson onwards, professed and – less consistently – practised support for international order and rules in which the US was a leading partner and indispensable bulwark. Mr Trump does not.