Leader comment: May ignores Trump’s insults for sake of UK

Rhona McKinnon, 72, from Prestwick, holds a sign saying Trump is "morally unfit to be president" - words also used by James Comey, the former director of the FBI
Rhona McKinnon, 72, from Prestwick, holds a sign saying Trump is "morally unfit to be president" - words also used by James Comey, the former director of the FBI
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Britain must work with US President who ‘diminishes the standing of the great country he is meant to lead’

If anyone had any doubt about The Scotsman’s assertion that Donald Trump was a serial liar, the US President yesterday provided yet another example of his standard of honesty.

After an extraordinary interview with The Sun – in which he criticised Theresa May over Brexit and claimed Boris Johnson, the newly resigned Foreign Secretary, would make a “great prime minister” – Trump dismissed the paper’s article as “fake news” during a press conference at Chequers. Trump blithely expressed confidence a tape of the Sun interview would demonstrate the truth. “It’s called fake news and we solve a lot of problems with the good old recording instrument,” he said.

Unfortunately for him, The Sun also had a recording – on its website. Trump backtracked and somehow the “fake news” story turned into one that was “generally fine”.

READ MORE: Trump’s claims that he predicted Brexit revealed as ‘fake news’

However, while the incident made it even more obvious what kind of man Trump is, the United States is and will remain for years to come the most powerful country in the world and a key ally of the UK. In short, America is bigger than Trump.

For now, he is its elected president and so world leaders like May are forced to deal with him for the good of their own countries. It is a hard reality that many of us face in our day-to-day lives as we work or otherwise deal with people we dislike. Personal feelings have to be put to one side for the good of our company and our families. Sometimes that can be a difficult thing to do.

So it was no surprise that May looked distinctly uncomfortable alongside Trump at Chequers, given his endorsement of Johnson, whose ambitions to become Prime Minister are well documented.

But by choosing to put diplomacy above any personal feelings, she did her country a service. Trump’s fragile temperament would not have coped well with any rejoinder and maintaining friendly relations will be important when the UK begins serious negotiations for a post-Brexit trade deal with the US.

It was left to others to express the feelings that May did not.

Conservative MP Anna Soubry tweeted: “The more Donald Trump insults and undermines Theresa May the more he enhances her credibility. Trump is a guest in the UK because we respect the great office he holds. Yet again he diminishes the standing of the great country he is meant to lead.”

READ MORE: Donald Trump ‘hates’ Nicola Sturgeon, ex-UK Government aide claims