The United States and the United Kingdom have a "special relationship," and it's one that President Donald Trump has repeatedly tested since his inauguration.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has received a lot of flack for her seeming unwillingness to stand up to Trump, but she came close to growing a backbone on Monday when she spoke out in support of London's Mayor Sadiq Khan after the president attacked him on Twitter over his handling of the attacks on the London Bridge.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted derisively about Khan's statement to British citizens that "there is no reason to be alarmed," a quote that was taken grossly out of context in the president's typical sloppy fashion.
At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is "no reason to be alarmed!"— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2017
He lashed out again at the mayor on Monday, calling his words "pathetic" and adding more fuel to the fire building between the U.S. and U.K.
Khan has kept his focus on the investigation surrounding the recent attack and, to his credit, ignored the tasteless jibes. His leadership in the wake of such tragedy has been commended by top U.S. Diplomat in the U.K. Lewis Lukens and May herself defended Khan when pressed by reporters about Trump's comments. While she did avoid condemning the president outright, she said that, "Khan is doing a good job and it’s wrong to say anything else.”
It's not great, but it's something.
May has walked a fine line with Trump for months and while diplomacy is the name of the political game, with Trump in play this is no ordinary game. As her country's outrage grows over the U.S. president, she will be forced to make choices that either align her with an authoritarian bigot hell-bent on driving the world to its knees, or show that she is a leader truly working at the behest of her people.
Trump is America's mistake; he doesn't have to be hers too.