President Trump may not be the most well-liked or even respected man in Britain, but that has not stopped him from influencing the race for its next Prime Minister.
According to recent polls taken by YouGov, nearly two-thirds of Britons do not like the American President, and only about 1/5th have anything positive to say about him.
Therefore, several contenders for leadership have been extra cautious about being seen with Trump in public or having much to do with him at all.
Such as Boris Johnson, who Mr. Trump has said would make an excellent prime minister for months.
Instead of risking alienation from the majority that does not like the president with a face to face discussion, Mr. Johnson decided to speak with Trump for about 20 minutes by phone about the race and currently debated issues.
However, the same caution was not taken by everyone. If this week is proof of anything, it is that much of the Conservative Party feel the need to impress and make “friends” with Trump, especially in light of the rather “phenomenal” deal that he has offered them in return for their isolation from the European Union.
Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, for instance, sat down with Mr. Trump on Tuesday night to discuss the relevant issues at hand, including his opinions of London’s mayor, Sajid Khan. This was only hours after the president had singled him out as a potential prime minister.
Similarly, Esther McVey, a Brexiteer, also sided with Trump against the mayor. She agreed with him on matters of leaving the European Union without a deal as well, saying they need to be “serious about walking away.”
This is a much-debated issue as of late because, while breaking from the EU might have particular benefits for Britain, it may rekindle mostly settled tensions between Ireland (part of the EU) and Northern Ireland, which is a member of the United Kingdom.
If such a deal were to happen, peace accords from the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 would be threatened, and there would be a need for a physical border between the two.
The environment secretary, Michael Grove was also requested to meet with Trump, although this meeting was still being arranged as of Wednesday.
Grove, from the moderate conservative wing, once called President Trump “an intemperate, bullying, foul-mouthed panderer.”
Several candidates to succeed Mrs. May also agree with Trump on the issue of whether to allow Huawei, a Chinese technology company, to produce components of Britain’s new telecommunications system.
Trump says that allowing them to do so would pose unneeded security risks, while Mrs. May herself is of the mind to work with them.
This causes many to believe that if the newest prime minister is anything like Trump, especially in regard to his trade negotiations, Britain will soon be poised against China as well as the European Union.
In past decades, the conservative party has always seemed to side with and cheer for the American Republicans.
However, its fondness for the president is typically relegated to only the rightmost wing of its members.
This past week it seems his popularity, although not found in a majority of Britons, has been much more mainstream.
This fact suggests that Matthew Goodwin, a professor of politics at the University of Kent, may be correct in thinking that the Conservative Party may be searching for a leader who emulates Trump in his trade dealings and is not afraid to drive a hard bargain with the EU.
“Here’s a U.S. president saying something that’s now pretty close to where the mood music within the Conservative Party is headed.”