By Gallagher & Schleicher
President Donald Trump is about to set out on a European summer vacation. Meeting with HRH Queen Elizabeth (or at least Prime Minister Theresa May)? Lunch with NATO frenemies? A chance to renew the bromance with Vladimir Putin? All on the agenda. Putting together our combined 50 years of experience in public relations, lobbying, runway scares and crossing the pond, we offer Donald these helpful tips and policy proposals.
1. Avoid central London. In fact, avoid all villages, towns and cities in the United Kingdom, if possible. Large masses of super-excited fans (yes, the lying fake news media will call them “protesters”) are expected to assemble all around the country on Friday the 13th with signs expressing their gratitude for your exemplary leadership. Do not read these signs and, if you do, remember that words that sound bad to us Americans are terms of endearment to our British cousins. Caution: These sign-bearing fans can spell. Sad! As for any giant balloon of you as a child floating above Westminster, simply avoid staring directly at it — it’s brilliant! Look at the size of the hands on that thing. And what beautiful, perfect hair!
2. The prime minister. Do not bring up Brexit. Despite your initial enthusiasm, it has all turned out to be a bit of a dog’s breakfast, as they say, with the majority of the public wishing David Cameron had never been born to introduce it. Theresa May’s approval ratings are only slightly better than yours — that is to say, in the loo — and your tariffs against the EU have left her holding the wrong end of the stick at a very sticky time. But since some of those leading the Brexit charge turn out to have been chummy with the Russian ambassador, you might help Theresa with proper use of the American phrase “witch hunt.”
3. The Queen. If she finds time to meet with you, don’t touch the jewelry. Yes, it’s real. No, Melania can’t try it on. It’s OK to ask how long she has been queen — she knows you don’t read. Don’t inquire about whether an American monarchy might be workable — that was settled circa 1776 and may lead to uncomfortable pauses.
4. The food. Most of it in England will be deliciously bland and overcooked, thank goodness, but do try the Spotted Dick, Toad in the Hole and Boiled Bollocks.
5. NATO. You’re meeting with Putin last, so he has forwarded some instructions for the earlier portions of the trip. First, you need not destroy NATO, merely convince them the U.S. is an unreliable ally and doesn’t have their backs. Two, bonus points if you push one NATO country leader out of the way for a group photo and leak to the press another one is a bit ugly. Three, please keep your phone powered on you during all the meetings. Not the secure phone. Your personal one. Don’t want Vladimir to feel left out of the conversation, do we?
6. Take plenty of hand sanitizer. Whether it’s an Air Force One that Bill Clinton may have used for who knows what, hot Russian twins that Vladimir would like for you to meet or someone who offers to shake your hand while you and Ivanka sit on a London park bench, the world is full of contaminants eager to circumvent your self-described germophobic tendencies. Note that “Teutophobia” is the more accurate term if the fear is that Angela Merkel will touch you.
7. Items forwarded from the staff. Jared requested that you ask Vladimir if U.S. citizens are eligible to become oligarchs and inquire as to the ongoing maintenance fees. Stephen Miller wants you to make a list of any European bankers who approach you and to pick up a pirated DVD of “Ash-Shatat.” Ivanka asks that you swing by Alicante, Spain, to drop off some European Union trademark applications. Melania wants to hang out with the new duchess of Sussex.
8. Jeff Sessions. Dress him in something bright and recognizable so that he’s easily identifiable on return — it would be embarrassing for him to get lost among the children seized by Customs and Border Protection at the port of re-entry.
9. Geneva, Switzerland. Famous for its fine watches and the WTO HQ. You could stop by for an extra Rolex, but Charles and David Koch have banned you from any trade-related activities without an adult in the room. Sorry, no Teuscher’s chocolates in your future.
10. Priority one. Last but not least, whatever else is or is not accomplished, make absolutely sure you do not leave the meeting with Putin without getting that video in your tiny little hands. While over the Atlantic on the flight back, have an intern disable the smoke detector in the restroom and disassemble and then burn and flush the video. Mr. Mueller assures us that so long as you are over international waters, he will forgo any related tampering-with-evidence charges.
Comrade Trump, this is your most important mission yet. You’ve heard of the dangers of a bull in a china closet? We believe you are fully capable of leaving not a single teacup unbroken. Finally, remember Winston Churchill’s admonition: History is tweeted by the victors.
David Gallagher is a transplanted Texan, living and working in London, England, and tweeting @TBoneGallagher. David Schleicher is an attorney who can be found at http://www.Gov.law or http://www.SmallBiz.law. This column originally appeared in the Sunday, July 8, 2018 Waco Tribune-Herald, where the Davids are on the Board of Contributors.