At major gatherings of world leaders, President Obama tends to be one of the more popular, sought-after figures on the global stage. This has been common throughout Obama’s presidency – he may be seen as a divisive leader domestically, but internationally, Obama is generally a towering figure.
Republicans are heavily invested in believing the opposite. Indeed, one of the more common GOP criticisms of the president is that Obama simply isn’t respected abroad. Republicans routinely insist that, behind the scenes, international officials voice their deep disappointment with the U.S. president, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) actually got specific on this point on Friday, saying that British Prime Minister David Cameron told the far-right governor directly that he’s unsatisfied with American leadership. Time reported:
Walker, who has taken several trips overseas in recent months to study up on foreign policy in preparation for an all-but-certain presidential bid, told a roomful of Republican donors Friday that world leaders, including Cameron, are worried about the U.S. stepping back in the world. […]“I heard that from David Cameron back in February earlier when we were over at 10 Downing,” Walker said. “I heard it from other leaders around the world. They’re looking around realizing this lead from behind mentality just doesn’t work. It’s just not working.”
If true, this would be a break with diplomatic protocol and a legitimately big deal. It’s unpersuasive when GOP leaders run around telling voters, “Lots of foreign leaders don’t like Obama; we just can’t actually name any.” But here’s Walker saying the British prime minister personally told him that he’s unsatisfied with Obama’s leadership.
The problem, not surprisingly, is that Cameron quickly pushed back, suggesting the Wisconsinite, who’s repeatedly struggled with foreign policy, has no idea what he’s talking about.
“The Prime Minister did not say that and does not think that,” a Cameron spokesperson told Time.
Congratulations, governor, on your latest foreign-policy triumph.
Incidentally, this isn’t the first time Cameron has felt the need to fact-check the right from across the pond. In January, Fox News’ Steven Emerson told a national television audience that the population of Birmingham, England, is now “totally Muslim,” and has become a city where “non-Muslims just simply don’t go.”
Emerson added, “[P]arts of London, there are actually Muslim religious police that actually beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn’t dress according to religious Muslim attire.”
Cameron, asked for a comment, said, “[T]his guy is clearly a complete idiot.”
The prime minister didn’t go nearly as far when correcting Walker.