Covering Donald Trump’s trip to the United Kingdom, New York Times U.K. correspondent Benjamin Mueller unloaded hostile mockery of President Trump worthy of the left-wing British press in “Unloved in Britain but Still Willing to Play Kingmaker,” in Thursday’s edition.
In case you didn't catch from the headline that Trump isn't beloved in Brtain, don't worry, Mueller mentions it again in every other sentence of his story (click “expand”):
It looked for all the world like a boardroom scene from “The Apprentice,” with President Trump appraising the candidates to succeed Prime Minister Theresa May, even as she stood by his side at a news conference on Tuesday.
Boris Johnson? “I’ve liked him for a long time.”
Jeremy Hunt? “I know Jeremy, I think he’d do a very good job.”
Michael Gove? The president, at a loss, playfully turned to Mr. Hunt in the front row: “Would he do a good job, Jeremy? Tell me.”
And then, as if slipping off-camera to interview the contenders, Mr. Trump sought a series of meetings with some of those same lawmakers, holding out his endorsement for whoever would remake the Conservative Party in his blustering, bare-knuckled image.
Mr. Trump, unloved in Britain even before he toyed with intruding on its public health system, would seem to make an unlikely kingmaker in the race to become Britain’s next prime minister.
But some top contenders have nevertheless rushed this week to woo the president and embrace his brand of bellicose politics, swatting aside the inflatable Trump baby balloon and the thousands of angry placards that greeted his state visit. They cheered his insults of London’s mayor, snatched precious one-on-one meeting time and battled to claim the mantle of Mr. Trump’s pugilistic stance in trade negotiations.
Playing to tiny audiences of fellow Conservatives who will choose the party’s next leader -- and the eventual prime minister -- some leading candidates have seemed to relish casting themselves in the image of an American president whose approval ratings are dismal across Britain as a whole.
But some analysts were struck this week by just how obsequious some of the leadership contenders’ appeals to Mr. Trump had become. Enthusiasm for the president, once confined to the party’s rightmost wing, seemed to travel to the mainstream as lawmakers vied for the votes of some 160,000 party members who tend to be stridently anti-Europe.
Mueller couldn’t stop reminding us that everyone in Great Britain absolutely hates Trump:
Mr. Johnson, who Mr. Trump has said for months would make a good prime minister, has rocketed to the front of the race by pitching himself as the sort of charismatic populist who could hold together a new Tory electorate. He spoke to Mr. Trump by phone for 20 minutes, rather than risk further alienating the majority of Britons who loathe the president with a face-to-face meeting.
If he and other contenders were cautious about flaunting their access to the American president, it was possibly because two-thirds of Britons dislike Mr. Trump, according to polling by YouGov, while around a fifth have a positive opinion of him.
So to The Times, Trump not only endangers his own country, he may hurt Britain as well:
Some analysts fear that if the next prime minister mimics Mr. Trump’s aggressive approach to trade, Britain, having already isolated itself from the European Union, will also set itself on a collision course with China.
Perhaps betraying a liberal sensibility, Mueller had a strange way of descrbing the “Brexit” majority vote to leave the European Union. “Obligations to the European Union?” Here was more from Mueller:
The Conservatives are ever mindful of the challenge posed by Mr. Farage, perhaps Mr. Trump’s closest friend in British politics, whose upstart pro-Brexit party resoundingly defeated the Tories in European Parliament elections last month. And in Mr. Trump, members of the Conservative Party have found someone unafraid to talk tough about breaking Britain’s obligations to the European Union and setting off on their own.