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Donald Trump's shocking display of bad manners

Theresa May is used to the best laid plans going awry but even by her standards the past week has proved exceptionally difficult.

In the space of 24 hours she lost both her Brexit secretary and foreign secretary as high level dissatisfaction over her Chequers compromise was fully exposed.

As she attempted to keep her Brexit plan on track, there were shambolic scenes in the House of Commons as copies of the white paper were distributed to MPs in the most chaotic fashion, adding to the sense of a government coming apart at the seams.

To cap a dreadful week, she then had to play host to Donald Trump, fresh from his disruptive attendance at the Nato summit where he caused alarm over demands for increased defence spending and took a swipe at Germany's reliance on Russian energy.

Mrs May already knew the president's UK visit was going to be controversial but street protests and baby blimps would prove to be the least of her worries.

Mr Trump dropped his own bombshell by giving an interview to The Sun newspaper in which he criticised the British prime minister's approach to the Brexit negotiations and warned that her Chequers plan could kill any US-UK trade deal.

To add to Mrs May's humiliation he also heaped praise on Boris Johnson, who walked out of government hurling barbs at her Brexit plan. According to Mr Trump the former foreign secretary would make a 'great prime minister'.

We know that Donald Trump does not do diplomacy but even by his own boorish standards this was a shocking display of poor manners.

Perhaps recognising his faux pas, the president tried to mend fences during a joint press conference with Mrs May yesterday, brazenly lambasting the coverage as 'fake news' while conceding that he had, in fact, apologised to his host.

In a rather over the top charm offensive, the president lauded Mrs May as an 'incredible woman' who is 'doing a fantastic job' while describing the US-UK relationship as the 'highest level of special.'

Whether he has done enough to undo the damage he has caused the embattled prime minister remains to be seen.

She would be entitled to feel somewhat aggrieved at his newspaper comments given the full pomp and ceremony she had laid on for his benefit despite knowing how unpopular this president is in Britain.

There is no doubt that world leaders are not quite sure how to handle Donald Trump.

Mrs May will be focused on securing a trade deal with the US but she must also know that she would be naive to take at face value any assurances from this wholly unpredictable president.

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