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President Donald Trump and Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle in July 2018. Trump was in the U.K. last year as part of a “working visit,” not an official state visit. (Matt Dunham / Reuters)
Trouble in the Transatlantic Alliance
On the eve of Donald Trump’s first state visit to the U.K., Washington’s “special relationship” with London is looking … rather unextraordinary, even though the White House said the purpose of the trip was to “reaffirm” that relationship.
That close cooperation has been crucial at countless points in history, with no better example than D-Day, which Trump will commemorate in Normandy this week after meeting with Queen Elizabeth II and Theresa May. But it’s in danger.
“The special relationship is arguably at its lowest point since the Suez crisis of 1956,” argues Thomas Wright. Trump, he writes, has interfered in the U.K.’s domestic politics and “repeatedly undermined its national security.”
This largely ceremonial trip to Europe offers Trump a rare opportunity for a “reset”—to follow the precedent of former presidents in distress who have gone on foreign trips to take attention away from chaos back in Washington. Except the chaos always seems to follow Trump: “In past visits to Europe, he’s ignited international incidents of varying degrees,” Peter Nicholas writes.