Donald Trump and UK politicians: What they said then v now

To say that Donald Trump is a controversial politician is perhaps to win the prize for understatement of the century.
President Donald Trump. Picture: PAPresident Donald Trump. Picture: PA
President Donald Trump. Picture: PA

The brash billionaire who bullied a succession of infinitely more-qualified politicians to the Republican nomination for President, has never been shy to cause shock with his comments.

After seeing off “Crooked Hillary” Clinton, the New Yorker with a Scottish mother found himself where so few people predicted he would end up – the Oval Office.

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That left politicians in America and closer to home having to re-evaluate the manifold ways in which they had cast aspersions on Trump’s suitability (or otherwise) for one of the most important and powerful jobs in the world.

Ruth Davidson. Picture: SWNSRuth Davidson. Picture: SWNS
Ruth Davidson. Picture: SWNS

Some politicians have remained admirably true to their words on Trump even as he starts enacting his more outlandish plans. Others have performed screeching u-turns. Here are just some examples of what they said then, and what they say.

Ruth Davidson

Perhaps the most linguistically impressive takedown of Trump back when he was just one of over a dozen candidates from the Scottish Conservative Leader.

Never knowingly undersold, in 2015 Davidson tweeted: “So, twitter, we’re all agreed? Trump’s a clay-brained guts, knotty-pated fool, whoreson obscene greasy tallow-catch, right?”

Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: John DevlinNicola Sturgeon. Picture: John Devlin
Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: John Devlin

Poetic it may have seemed, and rightly so, because it’s a quote from Shakespear. Henry IV, Part 1, to be exact.

Cliff notes tell us that Hal, who hit his pal Falstaff with that volley of insults, planned to convey that he was simultaneously fat, stupid, a coward, and the son of a whore.

Davidson tempered her language once Trump pulled off the upset win, saying: ““Mr Trump tapped into the disaffection we are seeing across the world right now due to economic uncertainty. That’s not something we can ignore.”

Nicola Sturgeon

Theresa May meeting Donald Trump in Washington. Picture: PATheresa May meeting Donald Trump in Washington. Picture: PA
Theresa May meeting Donald Trump in Washington. Picture: PA

It might not be the most diplomatic choice of words to say that you are going to ‘dingy’ the leader of the free world, but that was how Nicola Sturgeon described Donald Trump less than a year ago.

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The First Minister used the Scots phrase, to mean ignore, in an unconventional pre-election interview with comedy character Gary Tank Commander on the BBC.

Sturgeon also confidently predicted that the American people would ensure that Trump never reached the dizzy heights of the Presidency.

Even in the immediate aftermath of the election, Sturgeon stuck to her guns, telling Holyrood that she couldn’t maintain “diplomatic silence in the face of attitudes of racism, sexism, misogyny or intolerance.”

Nigel Farage. Picture: PANigel Farage. Picture: PA
Nigel Farage. Picture: PA

But mere days later she wrote to Trump congratulating him on his win and wishing him success in the role that she never thought he would have.

Theresa May

Perhaps the biggest volte-face came from Britain’s Prime Minister. When she was merely Home Secretary, May took issue with the way Trump characterised Britain.

As Trump parroted familiar lines from his favourite news outlets Fox News and Breitbart that parts of Britain were no-go areas for non Muslims, May went on the attack.

She told a select committee in late 2015 than Trump’s comments were ‘nonsense’ and that Britain would not acquiesce to his plans for a ‘Muslim ban’ as the then-candidate had mooted.

Ruth Davidson. Picture: SWNSRuth Davidson. Picture: SWNS
Ruth Davidson. Picture: SWNS
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May also echoed her then boss David Cameron, who caused his own stir when he said that Trump’s comments were ‘stupid, divisive, and completely wrong’.

But now that Cameron has resigned and Trump is in power, May’s tune has decidedly changed and she is now working quite literally hand-in-hand with the President.

The Prime Minister is working overtime to ensure that post-Brexit, Britain can still rely on America as our greatest ally.

A cloyingly collegiate press conference should just how much May was more than willing to risk tricky domestic questions and take a ride on the ‘Trump Train’.

May has also failed to come to the defence of Commons Speaker John Bercow as Tories seek to oust him from his role over anti-Trump comments.

Nigel Farage

As consistent as he is opportunistic, the perennial UKIP leader jumped on the Trump Train early, recognising the potential links that could help his then nascent Brexit campaign.

Though he scoffed at some early comparisons between the two (he modestly told the Guardian in 2015 he preferred to be thought of as Henry VIII), Farage has been Trump’s most prominent British backer.

Farage and Trump were speaking the same (some argued abhorrent) language when it came to warning that the Syrian refugee crisis was an open door to inviting IS terrorists to the West.

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Farage, who despised outgoing President Barack Obama for a host of largely imagined slights against Britain, said originally that you couldn’t pay him to back Hillary Clinton.

That tacit approval morphed into a full blown endorsement when Farage spoke in favour of Trump at a Republican rally.

The former banker who rails against financial elites has reaped the words of that endorsement, becoming the first UK politician to meet Trump after his win, and cashing in on a number of media appearances both at home and abroad.