U.K. Officials’ New Trump Dilemma: What if He Loses?



Mark Landler | The New York Times

Queen Elizabeth II threw him an extravagant state banquet at Buckingham Palace. Former Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed him to Blenheim Palace, the family seat of his hero, Winston Churchill. Her successor, Boris Johnson, refused to join a global chorus of criticism after he ordered troops to break up a Black Lives Matter protest outside the White House.

Few countries have worked harder than Britain to please President Trump. But now, with Mr. Trump trailing in the polls to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., British officials are waking up to an unsettling prospect: The president they tried so hard to accommodate may be out of power next year.

In Paris and Berlin, a Trump defeat would be welcomed as an unalloyed relief, removing a leader who has sundered alliances, threatened a trade war, and tried to dismantle the European project. But in London, where Mr. Johnson’s government just left the European Union, it is more complicated.

At a moment of British isolation, Mr. Trump’s full-throated endorsement of Brexit has made the United States a safe harbor. His promise of a lucrative trade deal gave Mr. Johnson a selling point with his voters. His populist politics were in sync with the bare-knuckle tactics of the Brexiteers.

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