Donald Trump arrived in London on Monday to a less-than-thrilled welcome. Sky News teased a video of a giant balloon baby version of the president that is set to make an appearance in London this week. Activists gamely projected an image of Trump’s and Barack Obama’s dueling popularity ratings on the side of the Tower of London—a reminder that just 1 in 5 voters has a positive view of Trump, compared with nearly three-quarters for Obama.
Although timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, the visit inevitably emphasizes the distance between that era of cooperation and the present, more strained status of the “special relationship.”
“We should not be rolling out the red carpet for Donald Trump,” was how Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, put it. “Trump is doing great damage to British interests and our traditional alliance with the U.S.”
Britons might be launching their predictably sniffy anti-Trump response to the visit, but the reality is that the United Kingdom today is in no position to scoff at other countries’ political misadventures. Both nations are still reeling from a political storm that hit in 2016. But as the United States processes the unorthodox and disruptive presidency of Donald Trump, Britain has become increasingly paralyzed—even broken—by the drama triggered by its vote to leave the European Union.