This article originally appeared on VICE UK. On Thursday morning Donald Trump laid into Theresa May on Twitter, after she said it was wrong for him to retweet Britain First.
A spokesperson for the prime minister said it was “wrong for the president to have done this,” referring to him re-tweeting fake news peddled by far-right propagandists Britain First. Trump @ed her, saying, “don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!”
Is she going to take that? Well, yes.
To any normal person, this would be a fantastic moment of affirmation. It’s like being called a dickhead by Satan himself. Unfortunately, May can’t even turn getting insulted by the world’s most powerful dotard into a win. At a press conference in Jordan—where she was visiting on a pre-Brexit tour before heading to the UK's trade partners in Saudi Arabia—May was looking about as comfortable as a vampire in sunlight.
When asked if she was going to ask Trump to stop sending such tweets, she simply repeated her previous criticism of the tweet—it was “the wrong thing to do.” When asked whether Trump had behaved appropriately for a supposed ally, May gave platitudes about, “a long-term, special relationship that we have, an enduring relationship…” When asked whether it was still appropriate to invite Trump for a state visit, she simply said, “The invitation for a state visit has been extended and accepted. We have yet to set a date.” Nothing has changed. The President is free to publicly tell the prime minister to shut up and her comeback is to reaffirm that they are the best of friends. He’s free to re-tweet fake news from the far-right and still be invited to have tea with the Queen.
This situation has been pretty embarrassing for May, and it's just another example of how thanks to Brexit, we have to cravenly cling on to the evil empire no matter what.
But perhaps the real story is how Trump's weird stupidity continues to place him outside the bounds of acceptable behavior. The president came in for unprecedented criticism in the House of Commons today, where MPs called him “fascist” and “stupid,” and said he was “either racist, incompetent, or unthinking or all three.” It would be cool if they regularly applied the same level of critique to British policy. After all, while Trump retweeted Britain First, as Home Secretary Theresa May sent out vans telling migrants to “go home,” a slogan reminiscent of the 1970s National Front.
Recently, it was revealed that a pregnant woman who went to the police to report being kidnapped and raped over a six-month period was arrested and interrogated over her immigration status. This comes as a result of May’s “hostile environment,” a policy which ensures that Britain rivals Trump’s America in the hatred-of-the-other stakes.
If only stories like that caused May to sweat as much as Trump's twitter feed does.
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