A young American woman is staying with us and I show her the headlines about her president. It is the morning after Donald Trump lambasted Theresa May in an interview for the Sun.
That interview was headlined “May has wrecked Brexit… US deal is off.” Mrs Maybe and the president then gave an excruciating press conference during which Trump rowed back on everything he’d said to the Sun, lavishly praised his host and said the relationship with her and Britain was some special kind of special.
He also said that the Sun interview was “fake news”. But the Sun had a recording on which Trump could be heard saying exactly what he now says he didn’t say.
The Sun riposte to Trump’s outrageous claim of lying is a good headline up with all the good headlines from its past (far from always the case on that newspaper nowadays) – “Fake schmooze.”
A lot of context for a breakfast chat with an Airbnb guest, but keeping up with Trump is exhausting.
Our guest, who is 23 and a recent graduate, is about to start a new job as a trainee with an international bank in New York.
“That’s what he always does,” she says. “He’s rude about people behind their backs and then takes it all back when they meet.”
Her take on this is that back home people have almost stopped noticing these Trumpian tricks. She also believes that Trump’s outrageous behaviour is beginning to deliver a boost to the Democrats, although the backwoods supporters still love their man.
Our guest is from South Carolina and sounds like an all-American girl, yet appearances can be deceptive. It turns out that she is a Russian immigrant who arrived in the States at the age of 11. Her mother is Russian and her step-father a Trump-supporting American.
“People always asked about the accent,” she says. “And I got tired of telling the same story.”
So she lost the accent.
Chatting to guests over breakfast is the best part of being a host, and I like this guest, as she is pleasant, smart and about the same age as our daughter. She books an Uber that keeps disappearing off her phone. I offer the number of a local taxi firm, but she looks puzzled. She’s from that generation who find anything other than tapping on an app to be a drag. I run her to the station in the end.
It was interesting having a young American to stay during Trump’s visit. She was with us twice over the week, and when she arrived back from Edinburgh, I said that her president had been on the news talking about “Scatt-land” and how much he loved the place and how much the Scots loved him and how he had many properties in “Scatt-land”.
She looked deflated at this news, as if hearing about her president was the last thing she needed after a long journey.
Sometimes it feels that hearing about Trump is the last thing any of us need. Trump is the great distractor and disruptor, a man who sails on a sea of lies, abuse and racism; yet we keep tuning into to what he says, even when it is vile and ridiculous and contracts the last vile and ridiculous thing he just said.
We learned nothing new from his trip to Britain. The deal with Britain is on/off; Theresa May is a terrible prime minister/great woman; oh, and the Queen is a little old woman who can easily be lost behind a lumbering orange lummocks.
Piers Morgan is claiming a world exclusive for his airborne interview with Trump for Good Morning Britain. He says that Trump reveals that the Queen thinks Brexit is a complicated business – breaking royal protocol by telling us something blindingly obvious. I didn’t watch this morning’s interview, not wishing to feel sick before breakfast.
Crawling to Trump with a mock-state visit won’t get us anywhere much, but his visit did leave a few strong pointers. Chief among which is that thinking the US can pull us out of the post-Brexit quagmire is foolish optimism at best.
Actually, Trump’s visit did teach us something valuable. It reminded us how witty the Brits can be in a protest. Some of those banners carried on the mass march through London were a witty delight – as, too, were the responses on Twitter from Scots outraged that Trump said everyone loved him there and they were all glad they’d voted Leave (which of course they didn’t).
Now Trump is off Fake Schmoozing with President Putin, and we all know that he likes an autocratic leader more than a democratically elected one.