Theresa May faced the media firing squad over Donald Trump's tweets, but just about lived

Her eyes widened. Her lower lip wobbled as if unexpectedly tasered in a police cock-up. She condemned the President again and again but it wasn't enough

Tom Peck
Political Sketch Writer
Thursday 30 November 2017 18:46 GMT
Theresa May condemned Donald Trump again and again, but it wasn't enough
Theresa May condemned Donald Trump again and again, but it wasn't enough (PA)

“Now there’s an opportunity for some questions from the err... from the media,” said the Prime Minister, the words as happy in her mouth as what the comedian Tim Allen used to call a “vomit burp”.

Usually you can tell when Theresa May is terrified, because she’s standing behind a lectern talking, but this was on a different order of magnitude.

Having just finished a lengthy speech about “online extremism”, she looked out in to the waiting crowd in certain knowledge of what was coming.

Her eyes widened. Her lower lip wobbled as if unexpectedly Tasered in a police cock-up.

Poor Theresa May. This was meant to be a quiet, uncontroversial visit to one Middle Eastern country bombed out by Britain, and another currently using British bombs to bomb out a third. Nothing to see here.

How was she to know that, far far away in the White House, the Leader of the Free World would be sitting on the bog, taking in his morning fill of proto-Nazi snuff vids and, perhaps through sheer boredom, depress his thumb against the retweet button and everything would change?

Damning statements would have to be issued. A debate would be granted in the House of Commons to allow dozens of MPs mercilessly to lay in to the President of the United States. (This required minimal effort. Most simply re-jigged the ones from last year, when they debated banning him from entering the country at all.)

So severe was the blast radius of this most magnificent Twitterstorm, half of Right Said Fred had been forced to delete its account.

Media attendees on said trip had, by the way, been compelled to attend a three-day-long “hostile environment training” course, in which ex-SAS men jump out the bushes and mock-kidnap them. If any of them were disappointed that the trip to the military encampment in Iraq had passed without incident, they were to get their money’s worth in the Q&A with the Jordanian Prime Minister.

If you, like me, haven’t been able to make it far enough into One Hundred Years of Solitude to the bit that must be in there where that guy explains what it’s like to face a firing squad and somehow survive, well, you can always watch the footage of this press conference instead.

Theresa May condemned Donald Trump again and again but it wasn’t enough. “Donald Trump’s tweets were wrong!” she said, but things have changed now.

She’d already condemned him once, on Wednesday, but since then he’d responded by having a pop at her on the Twitters at 1am UK time. (Well, eventually he did. His first assault he inadvertently levelled at a woman from Bognor called Theresa Scrivener who, in these wondrous times we live in, is now demanding an apology from the US).

She condemned him again and again.

“Britain First is a hateful organisation who are against everything we stand for.”

“Will you cancel the state visit Prime Minister?”

“A invitation for state visit has been extended and, um, arr, um.”

“How did you feel when the President attacked you on Twitter Prime Minister?”

“Umm, arr, um, we’re not afraid to say when we think the United States has got it wrong,” she continued, with all the conviction of a nine year old child awaiting punishment from Miss Trunchbull.

It wasn’t immediately clear how long this was going to go on for. Five more minutes and a request to “Just call Donald Trump a complete w*****!” could not have been ruled out.

It’s most unfortunate, all this. When your own infinitesimally short premiership is going to coincide in its entirety with the occupation of the White House by a not particularly enlightened baboon, you have reason to curse your luck. But her singular utter desperation for a trade deal, she must accept some responsibility for.

How she must have bristled with excitement on that Tuesday night last November, on the imminence of Hillary victory – the new sisterhood bestriding the narrow, kitten heeled world. It wasn’t meant to be like this.

That a president of the United States, by the way, can cause a major international incident merely through the inadvertent lowering of a thumb of a button is hardly new. That joke’s been doing the rounds since not long after Hiroshima.

The sense that the Britain First retweet is merely a foretaste of what those diminutive orange digits might be capable of grows ever harder to ignore. Sleep easy now.

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