By Moustafa Bayoumi

Trump is scared Brits will be mean to him? Classic strongman fragility

June 15, 2017

Trump’s state visit to Britain put on hold

Donald Trump is reportedly delaying an official state visit to London because the British people will be mean to him. According to an adviser to UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump recently told her in a phone call that he does not want to the visit Britain if large-scale protests would greet him there. Rather than being aghast at Trump’s cowardice, I find myself feeling envious of the British people.

For Trump not to be met with protests in Britain would be almost impossible. Back in February, more than half of British adults already said they expected Trump to be an awful or below-average president. His ludicrous attack on London mayor Sadiq Khan after the terrorist attack on London Bridge seemed to evince their sentiments. Trump’s behavior was a brazen illustration of his bad leadership, and a craven attempt to redirect global attention to himself. But if just the threat of popular protest is enough to stop Donald Trump, I would like to ask the British public to keep up their good work.

Trump told Theresa May he won’t go to the UK if there are large protests. Like the autocrats and dictators he’s pals with, he’s running away from dissent, too.Unfortunately, we in the United States can’t escape Trump so easily. He dominates our news cycle and overwhelms our social media. And since he still acts as if he’s on the campaign trail whenever he addresses the public, his appearances continue to be staged like election rallies or victory marches, which means he persists in delivering those bellicose, defensive, non-sequitur laden speeches to like-minded crowds. His latest example was an hour-long oration delivered last week for an audience of 400 hand-picked people in Cincinnati.

And that’s the point, isn’t it? Many politicians will seize on opportunities to speak to friendly or even carefully selected audiences. But with Trump, it seems as if he only wants to speak in front of his most devoted followers.

Surely it’s no coincidence that the president has returned to decidedly anti-Trump New York City – which also happens to be his hometown and until very recently the residence of his youngest son and wife – just once, and ever so briefly, since becoming president.


The president dodges his critics but flies headlong into his admirers. Guess what? It turns out that being surrounded by sycophantic devotees hanging on your every word is a trait that many of Trump’s friends also share.

Saudi Arabia, which has been severely criticized for curtailing the right to freedom of assembly, was lauded recently by the U.S. president. Trump has long been courting autocrats and chumming with dictators, as if supporting their brutality will make him appear as a leader worthy of the respect of the masses. And, like these autocrats, now he’s running away from protests, too. But the thing about strongmen is that their respect is always purchased by violence, corruption, and threats, and never through consent. This explains why the strongman is constantly afraid of losing the love of his people, though this is a love he never really had or deserves.

This observation leads to a truth that applies equally to these strongmen as it does to Donald Trump. All of these men are constantly on the march to demonstrate their might, but not because they’re powerful. On the contrary. These are the men who constantly flex their muscles for the simple reason that they’re all just so damn fragile. Welcome to the club, Donald. You’ll fit right in.

(Source: The Guardian)

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