Let’s set aside all political proclivities and examine how President Donald Trump fared in jolly old England. (Disclaimer: The following is not an assessment of the political impact of Donald Trump’s state visit to the United Kingdom, nor is it a report card for the GOP. It’s merely my observations, sort of a Miss Manners meets the Fashion Police critique.)
First of all, the Royal Palace extended an invitation to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. Reportedly, the Trump clan was not included. They showed up anyway (at whose expense??). The only Trump who remained stateside was young Barron, who probably would have rocked his tuxedo far better than the rest of them (more about that later). Etiquette dictates if you are not invited, you do not attend, but apparently social rules of proper behavior do not apply when you’re trying to present yourselves as American royalty. Thus, Don Jr., Eric and his wife, Ivanka and Jared, even Tiffany, all showed up to rub elbows with the royals. Hopefully, the Queen had enough crumpets and tea to go around! While the Trump spurious dynasty was probably tickled pink to be at Buckingham Palace, their critics regarded them as nothing more than well-dressed party crashers.
The price tag for the Trump’s attire was probably equal to college tuition, but one cannot say the First Family wore their fashion well, Melania Trump excluded. From her Princess Diana-like hat and white ensemble (for which the First Lady has been questionably criticized) to her stunning white gown at the official palace dinner, Melania Trump was impeccably dressed. The same cannot be said for the rest of them. The President’s tuxedo was an epic fail. I’m no expert, but is the white vest supposed to hang inches beneath the tuxedo jacket? Trump looked ridiculous. (I’d liken him to a tubby penguin, but I’m far too enamoured with penguins to do that.) The President’s posture certainly didn’t help. The poor guy looked as uncomfortable in his monkey suit as the rest of the world felt when looking at him. Ditto for Donny, Jr., who looked like a substitute waiter wearing someone else’s uniform. But the biggest fashion flop of the evening belongs to none other than Ivanka Trump. Ivanka’s long shirt dress looked more like what June Cleaver wore when baking cookies than appropriate formal attire. The Queen and her family wore white. Melania wore white. I guess Ivanka didn’t get the memo, or perhaps she did and purposely ignored it so she would stand out, as she did the following evening when she wore white and nobody else did.
The President stood out, too, when he violated protocol and touched the Queen. It must be noted that Michelle Obama committed a similar faux pas during her first meeting with the Queen in 2009. Mrs. Obama was harshly criticized for her action; Trump is similarly being called out. While both Mrs. Obama and President Trump should have paid more attention to their briefings regarding what to do and what not to do in the Queen’s presence, this time I’m giving Trump a pass. The President lightly touched the Queen. Whipee. It’s pretty petty to pick on the man for being polite...when you can justifiably pick on him for so frequently being impolite.
The President was definitely out of line when he referred to Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, as “nasty”. Of course, President Trump later denied his remark, relying on semantics to save face, the implication being referring to someone as nasty in conversation is not the same as saying they are nasty to their face. The Duchess did not meet with President and Mrs. Trump. The official word from the palace was that Meghan is on maternity leave, caring for her newborn. Sure. Okay. I’ll buy that, but I can’t help wondering if Meghan Markle, an American who has previously been vocal in her dislike for Donald Trump, preferred not to compromise her convictions by socializing with him. If that’s the case, bravo, Duchess!
And there you have it, a critique of the superficial. In conclusion, Melania earned an A for her efforts in the United Kingdom. She conducted herself with aplomb and did America proud. Well, done, Mrs. Trump.
The rest of them? Meh.