On his state visit to the U.K. this week, President Trump took some time to speak to The Sun newspaper and reminded everyone why the British consider him to be the smartest and most bigly respected president ever.
“You don’t hear the word ‘England’ as much as you should. I miss the name England,” he said. “I think England is a beautiful name. And you don’t hear it very much anymore. But (the football team at the World Cup is) playing as ‘England.’ That’s very interesting. That’s good.”
Clearly, Trump’s been doing his utmost to keep up with the news of the country he’s visiting. It’s not like 30,000 people packed into Hyde Park in London on Wednesday to cheer on England, with millions more at beer gardens, pubs, and bars throughout the country. It’s not as if the front page of practically every single major U.K. newspaper was full of praise for the English team that lost heroically to Croatia in the World Cup semi-finals. It’s not like Prince William logged onto Twitter (a rare occurrence) to say how proud he was of England’s team.
— Andy Walker (@_andywalker_) July 12, 2018
I know how disappointed @england must feel right now but I couldn’t be more proud of this team and you should hold your heads high. You’ve had an incredible #WorldCup, made history, and gave us fans something to believe in. We know there is more to come from this @england team. W
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) July 11, 2018
To be fair to Trump, he’s hardly the first geographically-challenged American to confuse “England” with the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,” something which I personally find more irritating than a warm pint of Carling.
Let’s be clear. England is not the U.K., and the U.K. is not England. The United Kingdom, as the name somewhat suggests, is made up of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. While the big decisions are made jointly at the Parliament of the United Kingdom in London (the building next to the big clock on the postcards), Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland also have their own parliaments which debate the smaller stuff, like housing policy and regional healthcare funding. Great Britain refers to the geographical island of Britain.
It’s also generally unwise to talk about how you’re in “England” if visiting, say, Scotland or certain parts of Northern Ireland — 500 years of fighting, backstabbing, and occupation makes people a bit prickly about their nationalities.
For the record, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also have their own international football teams. They just tend to be rubbish, so they rarely qualify for international tournaments like the World Cup (yes, I know that Wales reached the semi-finals of the Euros on 2016, the point still stands, don’t email me about this).
Honestly, it’s all quite simple and very similar to the United States.
Trump also made sure in his Sun interview to criticize British Prime Minister Theresa May for her handling of Brexit. “If they do a deal like that, we would most likely be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the U.K., so it will probably kill the deal,” he said. “I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me.”
In true presidential style, Trump later backtracked on those comments, claiming the entire Sun interview was “fake news.”