In early June, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt stood on the airport tarmac waiting to greet President Donald Trump. Following the resignation of Theresa May, a Conservative leadership competition was underway, and Hunt was desperate to further ascend the greasy pole. The President’s state visit was a great opportunity for Hunt to raise his profile and look statesmanlike.
Air Force One lumbered into view, touched down, and came to a stop. Then nothing happened. For about 20 minutes, according to Hunt, he stood rigidly expecting the President and the First Lady to emerge. Was the Commander in Chief attending to some pressing matters of state? Had Air Force One’s door malfunctioned?
The real reason turned out to be Twitter. President Trump was inside, firing off angry tweets at London Mayor Sadiq Khan:
@SadiqKhan who by all accounts has done a terrible job as Mayor of London, has been foolishly ‘nasty’ to the visiting President of the United States, by far the most important ally of the United Kingdom,” Trump typed. “He is a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me.
Quite an entrée. British pundits were quick to register disapproval: Trump had begun his visit by lashing out at a British Muslim leader. Various anti-Trump grandees declared their support for Khan against the Orange Monster. Others pointed out in Trump’s...