Trump is scared Brits will be mean to him? Classic strongman fragility

I wrote this for The Guardian.

Donald Trump is reportedly delaying an official state visit to London because the British people will be mean to him. According to an adviser to UK prime minister Theresa May, Trump recently told her in a phone call that he does not want to the visit Britain if large-scale protests would greet him there. Rather than being aghast at Trump’s cowardice, I find myself feeling envious of the British people.

For Trump not to be met with protests in Britain would be almost impossible. Back in February, more than half of British adults already said they expected Trump to be an awful or below-average president. His ludicrous attack on London mayor Sadiq Khan after the terrorist attack on London Bridge seemed to evince their sentiments. Trump’s behavior was a brazen illustration of his bad leadership, and a craven attempt to redirect global attention to himself. But if just the threat of popular protest is enough to stop Donald Trump, I would like to ask the British public to keep up their good work.

Unfortunately, we in the United States can’t escape Trump so easily. He dominates our news cycle and overwhelms our social media. And since he still acts as if he’s on the campaign trail whenever he addresses the public, his appearances continue to be staged like election rallies or victory marches, which means he persists in delivering those bellicose, defensive, non-sequitur laden speeches to like-minded crowds. His latest example was an hour-long oration delivered last week for an audience of 400 hand-picked people in Cincinnati.

And that’s the point, isn’t it? Many politicians will seize on opportunities to speak to friendly or even carefully selected audiences. But with Trump, it seems as if he only wants to speak in front of his most devoted followers.

Read the rest here.

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