According to a story Monday from the Washington Post, the president has shown “little interest in expending his time or political capital to rally the Brexit movement, which he sees as a result of the same nationalistic forces that lifted him to the presidency.”
President Trump “spent the day tending to grievances with his critics on Twitter – he called the mayor of London a ‘stone cold loser’ – before visiting with Queen Elizabeth II and touring Westminster Abbey,” wrote Robert Costa and Toluse Olorunnipa in “Trump lashes out at critics during trip to London, but leaves ‘Mr. Brexit’ persona aside.”
He mostly avoided talk of Brexit, which “leaves him as the world’s most famous nationalist, but one who is somewhat distant from the debates destabilizing Europe.”
This fits what Costa and Olorunnipa have determined to be a pattern. “He gives candid commentary before he travels abroad on a nation’s political scene and stokes controversy that leaves officials bracing for chaos,” they wrote. “But after he lands, he rarely uses the international stage to advance a discernible agenda or to wield his influence to shape world events.”
Costa and Olorunnipa offered as examples Trump giving an interview to the Sun tabloid in the UK in which he criticized Prime Minister Theresa May for not taking his advice on Brexit, his calling Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “indignant” about a trade dispute before the Group of Seven summit in Canada in 2018 and at other summits, such as NATO gatherings at which he complained “about everything from defense spending to pipeline deals to trade concerns.”
By the end of the trips, Costa and Olorunnipa wrote, “the view … is usually more focused on the comments he made before he arrived and after he departed than on what he achieved in between.”
He then “dismisses any suggestion of tumult or tensions despite prompting them in the first place,” they wrote.
His “flashes of solidarity with the nationalist and Brexit-linked leaders in the United Kingdom have been scattered an lacking any evident agenda, beyond Trump being appreciative of their warm words for him,” Costa and Olorunnipa wrote.
The Post said Nigel Farage, who leads the Brexit Party and appeared with Trump at rallies in the U.S., “welcomed Trump’s presence” even as the president “resisted the chance to tout Farage’s nationalist movement.”
This is because Trump is ultimately selfish and concerned only with his own appearances and lacks an overall agenda regarding the Trump-aligned forces now reshaping European politics.
“While some Trump supporters, such as former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, have strained to forge a deeper connection between the president and other nationalists, Trump habitually operates through a personal prism. There is no obvious global political project he is building, only a thicket of relationships to navigate.”
What Costa and Olorunnipa seem to miss is that nationalism means nations take control of their own fate and do not leave it to consortia of other nations, such as the European Union, or multinational organizations, such as the United nations. They even supply a quote from Trump from a rally in Mississippi in 2016 in which he, with Farage at his side, said “I was very supportive of their [meaning the British] right to do it and take control of their own future.”
And they acknowledge the administration released a memo on Monday saying the president fully supports Brexit and hopes it is “accomplished in a way that will not affect global economic and financial stability while also securing independence to the United Kingdom.”
But he has not met with the leading contenders to replace May as prime minister, and that was enough for Costa and Olorunnipa.