Donald Trump's signature humiliation strategy is more than a diplomatic hand-grenade

  • ITV News Washington correspondent Robert Moore gives his analysis of Day Two of Trump's visit to the UK

President Trump used exactly the same tactics at the G7 in Quebec, and at the NATO summit this week. Now he has performed his signature diplomatic move on this British trip.

Humiliate his host. Turn straightforward diplomacy into a car-crash. Identify the single most sensitive issue and roll in a hand-grenade.

The interview Trump gave to The Sun is not a hand-grenade. He’s actually dropping - either by cunning design or by blundering ignorance - the MOAB, the Mother of All Bombs.

That’s because he’s suggesting that British foreign policy - in fact our entire economic future - is based on a brutal choice: Europe or America.

In the interview, Trump says Downing Street can have viable trading ties with the EU - the soft’ish Brexit of the fragile Chequers Agreement - or it can forge a free trade deal with the US. But it cannot have both.

That is nothing less than a fundamental assault on our most basic strategy of believing that we are still a bridge - culturally, politically, economically - between Europe and the US.

The President touched down on UK soil Thursday. Credit: ITV News

That is obviously damaging to Mrs May. As my colleague Robert Peston has pointed out, the Prime Minister has achieved the impossible: offending Brexiteers and Brussels at the same time.

And we now know that she has also alienated the President of the United States.

The Chequers Agreement is looking less like an inspired compromise, and more like that specific, unpalatable object that Boris Johnson said cannot be shined.

The President has arrived in the UK and brought a bombshell with him. Credit: ITV News

Trump’s intervention is astonishingly unhelpful to Downing Street and to Britain’s foreign policy establishment.

He is turning everything upside down, even the most basic strategic assumptions that have guided Britain for decades.

Theresa May can now phone Justin Trudeau and Jens Stoltenberg and they can all discuss why on earth they invited Trump in the first place.