The close alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom has endured through two world wars and the Cold War, as well as the wars with Iraq and in Afghanistan.
Could it survive a President Donald Trump?
The presumptive Republican nominee spoke in a British TV interview aired Monday to hit back at Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who have slammed his plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
“Divisive, stupid and wrong” is how Cameron described it — words the prime minister stood by later Monday,.
“It looks like we’re not going to have a very good relationship, who knows?” Trump said on ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” when asked how ties between Washington and London would fare if he is elected.
“Number one, I’m not stupid, OK? I can tell you that right now. Just the opposite. Number Two, in terms of divisive: I don’t think I’m a divisive person. I’m a unifier, unlike our president right now,” Trump said.
Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, has called Trump’s views of Islam “ignorant” and rejected the candidate’s suggestion that he could be an exception to the ban.
Said Trump: “I think they’re very rude statements and frankly, tell him: I will remember those statements.”
Trump’s seeming willingness to shred the U.S.-British relationship out of pique is shortsighted to say the least, given the two countries’ close working relationship in intelligence-sharing and counterterrorism, according to Alex Ward of the Atlantic Council, a nonpartisan foreign policy think tank.
“They are an essential partner in our American foreign policy,” said Ward, who is associate director of the council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. “When it comes to who our top partners are, if the U.K. is not in the top five, you have the wrong list,” Ward told Newsday.