LONDON — The Donald Trump timebomb has been dropped into Britain’s general election campaign.
Trump arrived in London on Monday night for a NATO leaders’ meeting the week before Britain votes to determine when, how and perhaps if it finally exits the European Union. While he will only be in the U.K. until Wednesday, both the governing Conservatives and opposition Labour Party are gearing up for a near-inevitable Trump intervention in British politics.
While Trump has struck up a rapport of sorts with Boris Johnson, the prime minister’s Conservatives want the U.S. leader to keep a low profile during his visit, fearing their fragile poll lead could go up in smoke.
A senior Conservative official said: “If [Trump] leaves without having caused anybody any damage, we’ll be pretty happy. But the potential for trouble is greater than the potential for any benefit.”
Data from pollster YouGov shows 67 percent of Brits have a negative opinion of the U.S. president, compared to 18 percent with a positive view.
Johnson needs Trump to tread a fine line of being open and encouraging about the prospects of a post-Brexit trade deal with the U.K., while not putting his foot in it in the process. But Trump is hardly known for his balancing acts.
Trump said that Johnson was “fantastic” and Labour leader Corbyn would be “so bad” for Britain.
“We know that the American president is fundamentally incapable of practicing diplomacy in the traditional sense, and has a tendency to make rather unhelpful remarks during press conferences, without care for the sensitivity of domestic political environments,” said Sophia Gaston,