The Taming of the Trump?

You could take the Shakespeare comedy, stand it on its head, and retitle it The Taming Of The Trump after the Prime Minister's successful first meeting with the new President at the White House.

Tuesday, 31st January 2017, 8:29 am
Updated Tuesday, 31st January 2017, 9:31 am
1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

He was clearly impressed by Theresa May and, for once, this normally boastful, and occasionally threatening man could hardly have been warmer and more friendly. The Prime Minister had worked her magic on him.

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And in addition to the touching hand-holding episode, he praised Brexit as “wonderful”, predicted the relationship with Mrs May would be even stronger than that between Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, and vowed that so long as he is President, the special relationship between the US and the UK would remain as firm as ever, with regular trade deals advantageous to both sides. His compliments could hardly have been more fulsome. Yet they should come with a “health warning”: Donald Trump has shown himself to be a man who, at the drop of a hat, will change his mind and go, as it were, into reverse gear.

He is on record as having said things and then later contradicting them without the turn of a hair. So, his gushing compliments could, according to those who know Donald Trump, be forgotten about and those warm feelings be replaced by far colder ones. Indeed, no sooner had the Prime Minister left the US than Trump’s controversial crackdown on migration came into force. The Prime Minister, through Downing Street, has said she is against this policy and that if a Briton got caught up in it, there could be repercussions. So, if you are wise, you take Trump’s words with a pinch of salt.

- How come President Trump, who professes an obsession about germs, and usually refuses to shake hands with people for that reason, finds it possible to hold the hand of Theresa May during her White House visit? The answer is probably obvious, but it does demonstrate an inconsistency in the President’s make-up. The belated excuse provided by White House officials that he grabbed her hand because he is afraid of steps, does not, I am afraid, ring true to me. But then I was always a romantic.