Downing Street might have been prepared for Donald Trump to cause controversy on his weekend visit, but they probably weren’t expecting him to take a torch to the Special Relationship.
The President granted an interview to right-wing tabloid The Sun, and didn’t hold back as, true to style, he held forth on a number of topics, from Theresa May’s Brexit plan to Boris Johnson’s skills as a potential Prime Minister.
We look at some of Trump’s most outrageous claims.
Perhaps the most outrageous of the President’s claims is the one that is most easily disproved.
Trump said that he had rocked up in Scotland to predict the outcome of Brexit, when in fact he had visited the country the day after the vote to leave the EU.
He said: “I was cutting a ribbon for the opening of Turnberry - the day before the Brexit vote, and I said: ‘Brexit will happen’. The vote is going to go positive.”
Daniel Dale, a journalist with the Toronto Star who collates instances of the President not telling the truth, said it was the fifth time Trump lied about predicting Brexit.
‘I told May how to do it’?
Is this the ultimate Mansplain?
The President revealed that he had ‘told’ Theresa May how to do a Brexit deal (he does claim that dealmaking comes easy to him) but that the Prime Minister, for reasons best known to her, had ignored her advice.
More popular than Lincoln?
Again one of the more obviously untrue claims, the President made reference to a poll which showed ‘he was more popular among Republicans than legendary President Abraham Lincoln.
“I beat honest Abe,” he said.
It may have been a reference to a high approval rating among his own voters released by Gallup this week, but it still doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny.
Presidential approval ratings are collected in phone polls, and given that Lincoln died a decade before the invention of the telephone, that seems distinctly unlikely.
Migration is ‘eroding culture’
One of the claims the President made is an old talking point favoured of nativist political movements for centuries.
He said: “Allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a shame.
“I think it changed the fabric of Europe and, unless you act very quickly, it’s never going to be what it was and I don’t mean that in a positive way.”
Apart from the fact that European culture has been influenced by thousands of years of migration both to and from the continent, it is the dog-whistle nature of the comments that will appal many.
Boris Johnson ‘would make a great Prime Minister’
Of Boris Johnson, Trump said: “He’s a very talented guy, I like him a lot. I think he would be a great Prime Minister, I think he’s got what it takes.”
Apart from the spectacularly undiplomatic fact of talking up a potential successor before meeting the actual Prime Minister, that is far from a majority view.
One of Boris Johnson’s fellow MPs even tweeted that the President was ‘wrong’ about the former Foreign Secretary.