Critics say Boris Johnson went too far in trying to appease the President – who lavished praised on him and called him ‘Britain Trump’. (Image: PA)
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Donald Trump has fallen far from the President who enjoyed a lavish State Visit to the UK last year.
Fourteen days before he is booted from office, he reached a new low by telling Capitol rioters “we love you”.
The President’s baseless claims the election was stolen from him earned a rebuke from the UK.
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, said Trump’s comments “directly led to the violence” by his supporters in Washington.
She told the BBC: “So far he’s failed to condemn that violence, and that is completely wrong.”
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Ms Patel’s condemnation was notable partly because it is so rare.
In the past her fellow Tory ministers and backbenchers have cosied up to the President to win his favour – despite warnings at the time about his character.
Even on Wednesday night, when he condemned the violence via Twitter, Boris Johnson made no mention of Donald Trump.
A pro-Trump supporter sitting in the Speaker's office during a riot at the Capitol
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)
Capitol riots: Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer lead UK condemnation of US violence
Priti Patel says Donald Trump 'directly' incited Capitol violence after squirming interview
Ms Patel insisted Britain should look forward, not backwards, as Joe Biden enters the White House.
“The fact of the matter is they are now transitioning to a new President,” she said.
“This isn’t about going back and reflecting on personal relationships.”
But for the sake of argument, what would we find if we did? Here are seven times Tory MPs were more friendly than they needed to be to the US President.
Boris Johnson suggested he should get the Nobel Peace Prize
Boris Johnson suggested the President should get the Nobel Peace Prize
(Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The Prime Minister used to be blunt about Donald Trump.
In 2015 he accused him of “stupefying ignorance” for saying parts of London “are so radicalised that the police are afraid for their own lives”.
Perhaps for diplomatic reasons, Mr Johnson cooled off on the criticism when both men were in government. But critics say he went too far in trying to appease the President – who lavished praised on him and called him 'Britain Trump'.
As Foreign Secretary 2018 he even suggested Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize.
He said: “If he can fix North Korea and the Iran nuclear deal then I don’t see why he’s any less of a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize than Barack Obama, who got it before he even did anything.”
The PM of course had history with Barack Obama – who he branded “part-Kenyan” and accused of an “ancestral dislike of the British empire” in 2016.
As he hoped for a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU, the PM repeatedly stopped short of criticising Trump directly, even in his worst controversies – and even when it was clear he had lost the 2020 election.
Needless to say, the much-hoped-for Brexit trade deal with the US hasn’t materialised yet.
Michael Gove posed with his thumbs up
Michael Gove landed the first UK press interview with the President back in 2017
(Image: Getty Images)
Michael Gove, rather than a full-time journalist, won the first UK interview with Trump after his election.
It later emerged Rupert Murdoch had sat in the room, amid claims the newspaper mogul had a hand in setting up the meeting.
The write-up in The Times praised the incoming President’s intelligence, saying: “Mr Trump’s number-rich analysis of defence spending reflects a businessman’s ability to cut through jargon to get to the essentials of a case.”
Mr Gove also called Trump “the master of the profit and loss accounts” and a “determined negotiator”, and they talked about their shared Scottish heritage.
The interview asked Trump about his ‘Muslim ban’, which he’d stood by weeks earlier, but the answer didn’t make it into the final edit of Mr Gove’s write-up.
To cap it all, the Tory MP then posed with the President-elect with his thumbs up.
Unfortunately for him the friendly tactics didn’t work – as when he ran for Tory leader two and half years later, Trump said: “I don’t know him”.
Jacob Rees-Mogg said he would vote for him
Jacob Rees-Mogg said Britain should lay out the 'reddest of red carpets'
(Image: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Now Commons Leader, Jacob Rees-Mogg repeatedly sprang to Trump’s defence as a backbencher.
Asked in 2016 if he would vote for Trump, he replied: “I would almost certainly vote Republican if I were in America.” That was nine months after the President demanded a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”.
Two years later Mr Rees-Mogg urged MPs to “lay out the reddest of red carpets” for the President and “treat him with the greatest respect and courtesy.”
He also took up Trump’s claim that he was America’s ‘Mr Brexit’.
In a 2018 article headlined ‘President Trump will be our greatest ally after Brexit’, Mr Rees-Mogg wrote: “His election depended upon similar factors to those that led to Brexit.
“He appealed to voters left behind by the metropolitan elite and he exudes confidence about his own nation and a determination not to be a manager of decline, which also inspires the Brexiteers.”
Andrew Rosindell tweeted support even after the election
Andrew Rosindell tweeted this the day after the election
(Image: Andrew Rosindell/Twitter)
The Tory MP for Romford gave fuel to Trump’s baseless ‘voter fraud’ claims with an image he tweeted the day after the US election.
The MP’s account shared a crude meme showing Trump as the American Eagle, wrestling back the flag from Biden who was depicted in the form of communism rising from the dead.
It happened after Trump went on TV to demand legal votes stop being counted.
Andrea Jenkyns had a nodding Trump toy
The Tory MP for Morley and Outwood didn’t hold back in her enthusiasm for the US President.
When he was mooted for the Nobel Peace Prize she tweeted: "Surely even critics of @realDonaldTrump can recognise his good work in this area.”
She shouted "you're welcome Mr President!" down from her office window at anti-Trump protesters while playing with a nodding-head toy of the President during his June 2019 visit to the UK.
"We should roll out the red carpet and welcome President Trump," she said at the time.
And she urged him to "win the election" after he was struck down with coronavirus.
Of course wishing his good health is what any sensible person would do. But urging him to win the election, two days after he refused to condemn white supremacists in a TV debate, is a little different.
Philip Davies said ‘he is not a serious threat of harm’
"He is not a serious threat of harm to our society in any way," said Philip Davies
Shipley MP Philip Davies is another backbencher who was enthusiastic about the US President in the past.
In 2016, after the President called for a ban on Muslims entering the US, MPs debated banning Trump from entering the UK in retaliation.
But Mr Davies insisted: "He is not a serious threat of harm to our society in any way. The uproar is largely because he is rich, white and politically incorrect, and that, to me, is really the crux of the issue."
He added: “Lots of my constituents agree with what Donald Trump said, whether I like it or not. [Should they] be expelled from the country as a result of their views?”
In the same year he added: “I think that we should celebrate politicians who stand up and say things that are unpopular and controversial.”
Theresa May invited him for an instant State Visit
Theresa May invited Trump instantly for a State Visit – and probably lived to regret it
Theresa May was partly a prisoner of her office – she had to cosy up to Trump for the sake of diplomacy.
But no-one forced her to invite him for a State Visit just a week after his 2017 inauguration – a move that prompted furious protests and a petition that hit a million supporters within days.
World leaders are not automatically offered state visits. Barack Obama was afforded one in 2011 and George Bush had one in 2003, but no other US Presidents had one during the Queen’s reign.
Mrs May stood by her decision in the face of angry protests and the full State Visit eventually happened in 2019. But she may well have regretted it.
Donald Trump used another visit in 2018 to put a wrecking ball to her Brexit deal, calling her “foolish” and saying: “I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me.”