An MSNBC panel on Sunday morning dug into Donald Trump’s visit to the UK, scheduled to begin on Monday, saying all indications are that NATO leaders — including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson — are not looking forward to being seen with the U.S. president due to the risk of damaging their own reputations.
Speaking with host David Gura, former White House aide Ned Price said Johnson’s biggest worry is keeping Trump from saying anything untoward during his visit — including endorsing him before an election scheduled for December 12.
“NATO is facing internal challenges, challenges that are coming from the president of the United States,” Price explained. “Focus on defense spending of the allies instead of the emerging threats that NATO has to be attuned to, including the rise of China, Russia, which of course has shown aggression in recent days.”
“I think what Prime Minister Johnson will be focused on, first and foremost, is keeping President Trump on script,” he continued. “And by on script, that probably means not offering an endorsement or kind words for Boris Johnson himself. There’s nothing that probably frightens the prime minister more than kind words from President Trump about 10 days before a general election in the U.K.”
“Boris Johnson has tried to keep his distance from Trump,” MSNBC’s Beth Fouhy agreed. “Even though Trump is open in terms of how much he likes him and how they have a common bond. In order to hold this country together, to keep it on the path he wants it on, [Johnson] cannot look like he is Donald Trump’s mini-me over in England. He needs to stand on his own two feet and it is smart that he is keeping this distance.”
FAQ podcast host Christina Greer, elaborated on that point.
“As we have seen as he goes around the world, he is usually the kid sitting at the table himself while other people are gladhanding and politicking and having real discussions,” she remarked. “He will most likely do what he does every time he is abroad, which is sit in his hotel room and watch Fox News and tweet about it. That is traditionally what he has done when he’s abroad.”
“When the president tries to flex his political muscles with all the other leaders there, we are seeing our allies move away from him,” she continued. “We’ve seen Merkel, she is at her wit’s end with this particular president. He doesn’t really have friends, confidantes, people to have side conversations because they see the damage he has already done.”