Yesterday was election-day in Britain but David Cameron found the time to declare his respect for Donald Trump in a joint press conference with the Japanese PM. To be honest, it is not exactly a full endorsement. “Knowing the gruelling nature of the primaries, what you have to go through to go on and represent your party in a general election – anyone who makes it through that deserves our respect,” he said. Basically, even if it was Hitler to win the primary, our respect is obliged. However, Cameron refused to retract an earlier claim, made when a Trump candidacy still seemed an unlikely prospect, that the billionaire’s proposal for banning Muslims from the US was “stupid, divisive and wrong”. It is certainly positive to see the British PM holding his ground on such an important issue, especially after a London mayoral campaign in which Cameron did not hesitate to stir anti-Muslim moral panic to get his candidate elected against Sadiq Khan.
Did the statement go unnoticed on the other side of the Atlantic? No, especially the refusal to retract the earlier statement. So it was no coincidence that hours later Trump decided to weigh in on the EU referendum debate, suggesting that Britain should leave the European Union. Not that he gave a real motivation for it, just a ‘stupid, divisive (for the EU), and wrong’ reference to the EU’s refugee crisis. How the two issues are linked together a part from being everyday on British Brexit tabloids is unclear, but frankly not really surprising from Trump.
Now, is this going to be a PR coup for Leavers or Remainers? I would hope the latter: I can already see the updated version of this poster.