Maria Puente, USA TODAY
Published 4:58 p.m. ET July 1, 2020 | Updated 4:59 p.m. ET July 1, 2020
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and U.S. President Donald Trump have arrived in Portsmouth for D-Day celebrations.
Queen Elizabeth II is still tops in President Donald Trump’s estimation, judging from their latest exchange.
The president and the one woman world leader he seems to admire most spoke by phone Tuesday, according to the White House and Buckingham Palace, although neither was clear about who called whom.
It seems she wanted to chat ahead of the July 4 holiday, as part of a series of calls she’s been making to other world leaders by phone. He wanted to wish her a belated happy birthday.
They talked about what British and American leaders always talk about – their countries’ long-hailed “special relationship” – and about their cooperation in fighting coronavirus and reopening the world economy devastated by the pandemic.
By both accounts it was a friendly and polite exchange. The queen is never anything but friendly and polite, while Trump has been known to attack other world leaders in tweets. But not her.
“Today, The Queen spoke to President Trump by telephone from Windsor Castle ahead of Independence Day in the United States on the 4th July,” the palace tweet said, along with a picture of Trump with Her Majesty during his visit to Windsor Castle in 2018.
“The telephone call is the latest in a series Her Majesty has held with world leaders in recent months,” including President Emmanuel Macron of France, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia,” the palace added.
From this we can conclude it was business as usual for her, still carrying out her duties, acting on advice from her government and checking in with Commonwealth countries and close allies. In other words, the queen is still on the job, despite some dire assertions that her reign is effectively over due to the pandemic.
The White House official statement was a bit more effusive. Trump has met the queen twice in visits to Britain; in 2019, during a state visit complete with lavish banquet at Buckingham Palace, Trump toasted her as “that great, great woman.”
“The President wished the Queen a happy birthday, marking 94 extraordinary years,” said spokesman Judd Deere in his statement about the call.
The queen’s actual birthday is in April but is celebrated officially in June with a massive parade in London. This year, however, she and husband Prince Philip, 99, have been quarantined at Windsor Castle since mid-March due to the pandemic, so a scaled-down version of the Trooping the Colour ceremony was put on just for her in the castle quadrangle on June 13.
“The President also expressed his condolences for the British people who have lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic,” Deere said.
“The President and the Queen discussed close cooperation on defeating the virus and reopening global economies. The President and the Queen also reaffirmed that the United States and United Kingdom stand together in our Special Relationship and will emerge from this trying time stronger than ever before.”
News of the phone call comes as Trump comes under fire for his alleged angry and unprepared approach in hundreds of classified phone calls with foreign heads of state.
According to reporting by journalist Carl Bernstein for CNN, which was widely reported in the British media on Tuesday, Trump was “near-sadistic” in bullying and demeaning two women world leaders: He told former British Prime Minister Theresa May she was weak and lacked courage, and told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that she was “stupid.”
When Trump paid his first official visit to Britain in 2018, anti-Trump British protesters, even self-described non-royalists, sneered at all the ways POTUS allegedly “insulted” their monarch, including the faux pas of walking in front of her when they inspected her honor guard.
After his state visit in 2019, in an interview on Fox News, he said he had “automatic chemistry” with the queen and that it was mutual. “There are those that say they have never seen the queen have a better time, a more animated time,” he boasted.
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