Trump presidency will be good for Britain, say UK supporters

As the US heads towards a rematch between Donald Trump and Joe Biden in November’s election, the former president’s cheerleaders in the UK claim his return could be good for Britain.

Jennifer Ewing, a North Californian living in west London and one of an estimated 196,000 American expats in the UK, noted that Mr Trump “has always been a bit of an Anglophile”.

“He always comments on how much his mother loved the Queen, and of course he’s got his golf course in Scotland,” the treasurer of Republicans Overseas UK added.

Ms Ewing argued that Mr Trump’s policies, particularly his hardline stance on immigration, resonated with the working, middle and upper middle classes in American society. “There’s a lot of similarities with what’s going on in the UK, too, with the growth of Reform party,” she added, referring to the former Brexit Party that is luring ex-Tory voters.

The exterior of The Trump Arms public house, formally named The Jameson, which has embraced the arrival of US President Donald Trump for a visit by changing it's name and decorating it's interior with Trump memorabilia, is seen in West London on July 12, 2018. - The four-day trip, which will include talks with Prime Minister Theresa May, tea with Queen Elizabeth II and a private weekend in Scotland, is set to be greeted by a leftist-organised mass protest in London on Friday. (Photo by Niklas HALLE'N / AFP) (Photo by NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images)
The Jameson pub in Hammersmith was renamed in honour of Donald Trump’s visit to the UK in 2018 (Photo: Niklas Hallen/AFP via Getty Images)

She said that effectively those who did not fall within the categories of “the ultra wealthy and non-working poor” were “ignored” by the Biden administration.

Robert Oulds, the British director of the Bruges Group, a Eurosceptic right-wing think tank based in London, told i a Trump presidency could result in potential trade deals.

“The opportunity for closer trade relationships [with] the United States would be welcome. It is one of our biggest business partners already and the level of foreign direct investment from the United States is high and that’s a good thing, and we should encourage more of that, and we’re better encouraging that with Trump.”

He joins a hodgepodge of British-based Trump supporters who include libertarians and populists, from Ukip supporters to disillusioned Tory voters and converts to Reform UK.

“A Trump presidency could be just what the world needs,” former Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote in his Daily Mail column.

“I would rather have Trump than Biden,” chimed another ex-PM, Liz Truss, according to the Telegraph.

Former Ukip and Reform Party leader Nigel Farage, who interviewed Mr Trump on GB News on Tuesday, has suggested he would like to serve as the UK’s ambassador to the US under a Trump administration.

Mr Trump has been largely an unpopular figure among the British population and a series of invitations to the UK were cancelled following intense public backlash.

Thousands of people marched through the streets of London opposing Mr Trump’s official state visit to the UK in 2019, with the infamous “Trump baby” blimp bobbing along with protesters through the capital.

Five years later, opinions may have shifted slightly in favour of the controversial Republican. A poll for i last month revealed a quarter of UK voters would prefer to see Mr Trump win the US presidency than Mr Biden.

While Mr Trump’s supporters on this side of the Atlantic believe a President Trump 2.0 would benefit the world, they acknowledge his brash style and incendiary statements may not be everybody’s cup of tea.

“Does Trump say crazy things? Yeah, sure, but people don’t care,” Greg Swenson, chair of Republicans Overseas UK, told i.

“I don’t want him to be my minister or my spiritual adviser, I don’t want him to date my daughter, there are things you don’t like about Trump, but you just look at what is better for the country.

“And that’s why, I think, Trump has a great chance of winning.”

Asked whether he thought Mr Trump being back in the White House would be good for the UK, Mr Swenson said: “I do, I do.”

He pointed to Mr Biden’s “mini-state visit” to the UK last year and how the US President unabashedly touted his Irish-American roots ahead a brief meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in Northern Ireland, before spending more time in the Republic.

“[Trump] had two great visits to the UK when he was president, whereas Biden has hardly done that, he’s hardly reached out to the UK,” Mr Swenson said.

A giant balloon depicting US President Donald Trump as an orange baby joins drag queens and protesters against the UK visit of US President Donald Trump as they take part in a march and rally in London on July 13, 2018. - Tens of thousands of protesters demonstrated in London on Friday against US President Donald Trump, whose four-day visit to Britain has been marred by his extraordinary attack on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit strategy. (Photo by Niklas HALLEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Tens of thousands of protesters demonstrated in London against Mr Trump ahead of his UK visit in 2018 (Photo: Niklas Hallen/AFP via Getty Images)

“And then the little things, just disrespecting Rishi up in Northern Ireland during his visit. Not putting the UK leadership on the top of the list, you know this is our number one ally.”

But Mr Trump was not Mr Swenson’s first choice. He had supported Ron DeSantis for the Republican nominee before the Florida Governor dropped out of the race following a disappointing result in the Iowa caucuses in January.

“I often have criticisms of Trump, I think it’s a risk for Republicans to have him as the candidate… but this is an election that Republicans should win easily,” said Mr Swenson.

A return to a Trump presidency has triggered a deep anxiety among defence and diplomatic figures who fear an end to US support for Ukraine and withdrawal from Nato if the 77-year-old is elected in November.

He caused a stir when he told a rally in Conway, South Carolina, in February that he would “encourage” Russia to attack any of the US’s Nato allies if they did not meet their financial obligations in the alliance.

TURNBURRY, SCOTLAND - JUNE 08: Donald Trump visits Turnberry Golf Club, after its $10 Million refurbishment on June 8, 2015 in Turnberry, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Mr Trump visits Turnberry Golf Club in Scotland in 2015 (Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Mr Swenson and Ms Ewing dismissed Mr Trump’s remarks as harmless banter, but acknowledged the language he uses to engage with his fanbase was “not very presidential”.

“But, again, most people don’t care,” added Mr Swenson. “They either think it’s funny, or they just overlook it.”

As for Mr Trump’s numerous legal challenges, his UK-based supporters squarely placed the blame on the Democrats.

Mr Oulds repeated Mr Trump’s claims that the lawsuits were “politically driven”.

“They just hate his popularity in the United States,” he told i.

“I don’t think anybody seriously would think if he wasn’t running for president again that these cases would have appeared. Some of them are particularly weak,” he added, without clarifying which legal cases.

Mr Oulds spoke of the “woke neocon alliance” that he believes exists in the media and is out to get Mr Trump. The term was used by venture capitalist David Sacks to describe the joining of forces between the “woke left and the neoconservative right”.

Regardless of what people may think of Mr Trump and his unfiltered rhetoric, he has effectively clinched the Republican nomination and outlasted more than a dozen challengers, capping off a stunning political comeback.

“If you take away some of the unsavoury language, I think he speaks for a real movement that’s happening,” said Ms Ewing.

“I think that movement will be around long after he is president.”


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