Donald Trump: Queen Elizabeth's Yank stepson? He seems to think so

Trump has been posting for days about how tight he was with the queen. It's embarrassing, but what else is new?

By Heather Digby Parton


Published September 12, 2022 9:53AM (EDT)

Queen Elizabeth II and President Donald Trump attend the D-Day 75 commemorations on June 5, 2019, in Portsmouth, England. (Chris Jackson-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II and President Donald Trump attend the D-Day 75 commemorations on June 5, 2019, in Portsmouth, England. (Chris Jackson-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

If you were to read Donald Trump's Truth Social feed over the past few days you would think that he was a member of the British royal family. He's posted picture after picture of his bumbling state visit to the U.K. a couple of years ago, along with numerous tributes to the late Queen Elizabeth (always in reference to their allegedly close relationship) and even had someone write a saccharine commemorative op-ed for the Daily Mail under his name. It seems sincere enough. It's clear that he is genuinely smitten with the British monarchy and sees himself as her late majesty's American stepson.

Normally, American presidents visit Canada as their first foreign visit, for obvious reasons, and also visit Britain early in their term as a mark of the "special relationship." Trump, as you may recall, broke with all tradition and almost immediately headed off to Saudi Arabia to get feted by the desert kingdom's royal family in an especially ostentatious and sycophantic display. (The Saudi royals weren't the first or last to understand that they could wrap Trump around their little fingers with pomp and flattery.)

Theresa May, who was U.K. prime minister at the time (they've had four in the last six years), first invited Trump for a state visit in summer 2017. That turned into an immediate brouhaha in Britain, causing significant political damage to May, and the visit never happened. It was widely as unprecedented for a U.S. president to offered such a splashy event in the first year in any case and with an anti-Trump petition reaching more than 1.5 million signatures in Britain, the queen was reportedly in "a very difficult position."

There had already been large street protests in U.K. cities against Trump's election and his infamous "Muslim ban." Nonetheless negotiations for the visit continued until they hit a snag over Trump's demand to be taken through the streets of London in Queen Elizabeth's golden Cinderella coach. It had been used for other visiting dignitaries, including Chinese President Xi Jinping (as Trump was no doubt aware) but security people on both sides of the Atlantic did not want this controversial president riding in a little carriage with the aging monarch, with angry protesters lining the streets, and the whole thing was canceled.

Denied a ride in the "Cinderella coach," Trump didn't visit Britain till 2018, when he was tormented by the Baby Blimp and managed to insult both Prime Minister Theresa May and the Muslim mayor of London.

In fact, Trump didn't visit Britain until July of 2018 when he finally met both May and the queen before heading off to his golf course in Turnberry, Scotland, where he could be the master of all he surveyed. This was the visit when Trump dissed May in the papers, saying about her handling of Brexit, "I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn't agree." Diplomatic, as usual. He tried to make it up to May by holding her hand and declaring that their relationship was at "the highest level of special."

This was the visit where the famous Trump Baby Blimp was flown over the streets of London, cheered on by tens of thousands of protesters. (It was later acquired by the Museum of London.) He also managed to insult the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, telling the city's public, "You have a mayor who has done a terrible job in London" and calling him a "stone cold loser."

Then there was the moment when Trump almost tripped the elderly queen by defying protocol and walking in front of her:

Luckily for him, this notoriously embarrassing visit was immediately eclipsed by what he did at this next stop: That was in Helsinki, where he groveled and scraped before Vladimir Putin in one of the worst foreign policy performances in American history.

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A year later, the British government apparently felt obligated to offer Trump the state visit he craved, since they'd staged them for both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He didn't receive the golden carriage ride but they soothed him with all the pomp and circumstance he has believed he deserved ever since he supposedly sat at his Scottish immigrant mother's knee watching Queen Elizabeth's coronation on TV. He just loves that stuff.

Unlike other dignitaries, Trump brought his entire family along for the festivities, spouses included. It's surprising he didn't invite all the ex-wives and grandchildren as well. That visit will go down in history as one of the most awkward, uncouth public appearances by a world leader in modern memory. They wore bad dresses and ill-fitting tuxedos and appeared to all the world as the Clampetts of Washington, D.C., even appearing on the famous balcony at Buckingham Palace as if they were preparing to challenge William and Kate for the throne:

Notice Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin taking videos like a tourist from Boca Raton, while various other randos just stand around on the balcony as if they were at Disneyland.

I'm not saying that Americans have any obligation to treat royal property with special reverence, but the president's entourage should behave with a little class if at all possible. These particular Americans were so over-the-top excited about being pretend-royalty for a day, it was downright uncomfortable to watch.

Trump has been going on and on for days about what a great honor it was to meet the queen and is portraying himself as almost as close with the new king, as if they were old golf buddies or something. He really, truly loves the royal family.

In fact, he has more in common with them than he might realize. Recall that the royals were confronted with the inconvenient fact during World War I that their name was Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, reflecting their true German lineage. That wasn't a good look in Britain at the time and so they changed the name to the much more English-sounding Windsor. Trump's paternal ancestors were also German and changed their name,(from Drumpf to Trump) for similar reasons. He is famously proud to have that "German blood," just like the late queen.

With all that in common, it's a wonder they haven't found some leftover dukedom for him, at the very least. Maybe the next time Trump and his good pal King Charlie are on the links, he can put that bug in his ear. 

By Heather Digby Parton

Heather Digby Parton, also known as "Digby," is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

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