Our president’s petulance is showing again.
President Trump announced via Twitter late Thursday that he has canceled a trip to Britain in which he was supposed to cut the ribbon for the new U.S. embassy in London. But now he’s suddenly decided he’s “not a fan” of the new embassy and blamed Obama for “a bad deal” in “having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for ‘peanuts,’ only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars.”
That decision to move actually was made by President George W. Bush, because renovating the former embassy to meet new security standards made less sense than building from scratch in a more open area. Although it is true that the lease (the property is owned by the Grosvenor family) for the former embassy was sold during the Obama administration, reportedly for upwards of 500 million pounds, or more than $685 million. Hardly “peanuts.”
So why would the president lie about something like that? Who knows? The guy lies as he breathes.
The real reason Trump likely decided he shouldn’t visit a country with which the United States has a centuries-old relationship may have had more to do with the reception he was likely to receive.
Tens of thousands of protesters were expected to take to the streets, and nearly 1.9 million people signed a petition urging the British government to not grant Trump an official “state visit.” Members of Parliament said they would not invite him to address them because, as Commons Speaker John Bercow said: “An address to both Houses of Parliament is not an automatic right, it is an earned honor. … And my view is that he has not earned that honor.”
Think about that. Great Britain is among the country’s oldest friends, and our president is all but persona non grata there.
Rather than go through with the visit, Trump — whose need to be adored seems pathological — backed down. And then he tried to deflect blame for the fiasco from his own behavior and statements — he riled the British by, among other things, retweeting anti-Muslim videos from a far-right British nationalist — by falsely attributing an action to Obama.
The White House could have simply issued a statement that the timing is not right for such a visit, and leave it at that. Instead, the president tweets something that is transparently false, and create a controversy where one needed not exist.
And if Trump is going to decide which countries — or even states — to visit based on how well he’ll be received, well, our president will be inhabiting a shrunken world.
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