Trump's in the UK: Pomp, Protests and a Bombshell Interview


The most anticipated element of Britain’s “Stop Trump” protests, a giant orange balloon of President Trump depicted as a pouting baby in a diaper and carrying a smartphone, took off Friday morning from Parliament Square in London.

Though the actual protest was hours away, dozens gathered for the takeoff, including activists, tourists, children and bystanders diverted from their commutes. They gathered around the balloon and, as if it were a rocket launch, counted down from 10 before setting it into motion.

“This is a victory,” said Leo Murray, an activist and the creator of the balloon. “People love it, he hates it and it’s driven him out of London.”

Anti-Trump protests have been organized for every stop of the president’s trip in Britain. More than 200 demonstrators gathered outside of Chequers, including two wearing giant papier-mâché heads with unflattering likenesses of the president and the prime minister.

Mr. Murray and others behind the inflatable “Trump Baby” have called the balloon a “symbol of resistance” aimed at giving Mr. Trump a clear message that he is not welcome in Britain.

“The only way to get through to him is to get down to his level and talk in a language he understands, one of personal insults,” Mr. Murray said.

Tens of thousands of protesters are expected for a 2 p.m. demonstration against Mr. Trump’s policies.

Adam Cottrell, one of the protest organizers, said, “He mocks and insults anyone who doesn’t support him so now he can see what it feels like.”

But Lucy Lawson, an American who came to see the balloon because it was close to her work, said that while she opposed Mr. Trump’s policies, she considered the protest childish.

“Why are people going down to his level?” she asked. “Why are they being so childish? It’s because of his childlike leadership that we are in this mess.”

Ms. Lawson asked one of the organizers why they still decided to launch the balloon, knowing that Mr. Trump would not be in London.

“It’s going to swamp his Twitter feed,” Mr. Cottrell said. “There’s no way he doesn’t see this.”

Obama weighed in on British politics, too, if a bit more gently

Mr. Trump is not the first American president to wade publicly into another country’s politics. In fact, he is not even the first to step into Britain’s.

In London in 2016, President Barack Obama called on Britons to reject the referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union.

An unwritten rule of international diplomacy states that the leader of one country should not try to influence the internal politics of another. The rule is broken often, but usually with an element of deniability — not out in the open.

Mr. Obama intervened with a different tone than Mr. Trump did. Mr. Obama even acknowledged that he might be crossing a line, explaining at a news conference with David Cameron, then the prime minister, why he had “the temerity to weigh in.”

Ben Rhodes, a former Obama aide, wrote in his recent book, “The World As It Is,” that Mr. Cameron, who opposed Brexit, had asked Mr. Obama to make a statement against withdrawing from the bloc.

Mr. Obama stood beside Mr. Cameron, who opposed Brexit, and tried to help him politically. Mr. Trump, on the other hand, has undercut Mrs. May.

Some pro-Brexit politicians castigated Mr. Obama for trying to sway the vote, but it is not clear what difference it made, if any. The referendum succeeded, with 52 percent of the vote.

And Mr. Obama was more popular in Britain than Mr. Trump is.

The Sun finds itself at the center of the journalism universe

Photo



The front page of The Sun on Friday.

British newspapers, especially the tabloids, know a good story when they see one, and the release of President Trump’s interview with The Sun dominated the front pages. A sampling of the headlines:

The Sun, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., proclaimed under a banner trumpeting the interview, “May has wrecked Brexit … deal is off!”

The Times of London, which is also owned by News Corp. but generally takes a more restrained approach, said, “Trump: May’s soft Brexit will kill chance of US trade deal.”

The Daily Mail described it as the “President’s Brexit Attack on May,” while another tabloid, the Daily Mirror, took a briefer approach that nonetheless managed to make its point: “Donald Thump.”

The Guardian has compiled a roundup of the British front pages.

Trump says he is committed to NATO

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