Donald Trump welcomed Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar to the White House yesterday, where the American president made all kinds of false claims, though one stood out for me.
Trump said he'll soon build "hundreds of miles of wall" along the U.S./Mexico border, and that's obviously not true. He said the European Union, of which Ireland is a part, was "unwilling to negotiate with the Obama administration," which is both ridiculous and untrue. He said he predicted Brexit would pass, which is not all what happened, and he said Barack Obama predicted Brexit would not pass, which is also false.
But those weren't the interesting parts. Rather, it was the Republican's perspective on Brexit negotiations that amazed me.
"I will tell you, I'm surprised at how badly it's all gone from the standpoint of a negotiation."But I gave [British Prime Minister Theresa May] my ideas on how to negotiate it. And I think you would've been successful. She didn't listen to that, and that's fine. I mean, she's got to do what she's got to do. But I think it could've been negotiated in a different manner, frankly."
I wish I knew what possessed Trump to say things like things like this.
Remember it was just last year when the American president condemned May's handling of Brexit during an interview with a British tabloid, sparking a minor international incident. In fact, he used nearly identical language at the time: "I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn't agree, she didn't listen to me."
He soon after apologized, though eight months later, it appears Trump learned very little from the episode.
But just as importantly, the Republican seemed to suggest he knew how to resolve an incredibly difficult economic and diplomatic challenge, but his brilliant advice went ignored. I have no idea what, if anything, Trump suggested to the British prime minister, but since the American president knows very little about the subject matter, it's probably safe to assume his proposed solution was of little value.
As for the larger context, there was no reason for Trump to take another cheap shot at an ally, but sometimes, it seems he just can't help himself.