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The Not So Special Relationship

How Trump Has Bewildered the United Kingdom

U.S. President Donald Trump and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May in London in June, 2019  Carlos Barria / REUTERS

In 2009, as then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was preparing to visit President Barack Obama in the White House for the first time, his aides devoted long strategy sessions to the nature of the gift that the prime minister would hand to the president. Eventually, they opted for a pen holder made from wood from the sister ship of H.M.S. Resolute—the nineteenth-century boat from which the Oval Office desk was made—and a seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill. The president’s staff had not been so thoughtful. In return, Obama handed Brown a set of DVDs that worked only on a North American DVD player.

The United States and the United Kingdom have shared what both have called a “special relationship” since the end of World War II, though in truth the connection is much older. The ties between the two countries’ governments are among the strongest

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