But across the pond UK Prime Minister Theresa May isn't exactly having a good November either, and suddenly her government has to be glad that Trump's failures are helping to take May and her massive bungles off the front page.
The saying goes that a week is a long time in politics. That’s all the time it took for May to lose Defence Secretary Michael Fallon in the sexual-harassment scandal rocking Westminster and her international development secretary, Priti Patel, over a stack of revelations about secret meetings with Israeli officials -- including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. To make matters worse, two other senior figures are in hot water. Officials are investigating harassment and pornography allegations against May’s deputy, Damian Green, which he strongly denies. Separately, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson faces calls to resign for a loose comment about a British woman currently in jail in Iran that may lengthen her sentence.
By Monday afternoon, it was clear that Patel had been running a freelance foreign policy in one of the most sensitive, complex regions in the world. That on its own would under normal circumstances have been enough for her to be fired. On Tuesday morning, May learned from the BBC about a proposal Patel had made to give aid money to the Israeli military yet Patel was still allowed to get onto a plane to Kenya for a scheduled trip.
So when May finally took the plunge it didn’t come across as an act of strength. The question was whether she would fire Patel -- which could be humiliating -- or force a resignation that allowed her minister to leave with more dignity. She chose the latter though it looked a lot like a dismissal.
Patel was summoned back early, arrived to 10 Downing Street via a back entrance and was kept waiting. Shortly after their 30-minute meeting, May’s office released two letters: Patel’s resignation and May’s acceptance of it as the right decision.
“This situation demonstrates May’s weakness,” said Nick Anstead, a lecturer in political communication at the London School of Economics. “She is very vulnerable to political events that destabilize her government, because she only has very limited room for sacking and reshuffling ministers.”
That Patel thought she could sit down with someone as high-profile as Netanyahu without first running the idea past her own prime minister feeds the impression that May has no control over her government. That is a marked change from her first year on the job, when ministers had to get permission from the premier’s office to say anything at all. Her authority, along with the ability to hold the reins, collapsed with June’s election drubbing.
“These type of events play into a broader narrative that the government is weak and the prime minister not in control,” Anstead said.
Moreover, Patel’s letter contained a hint of menace. The pro-Brexit campaigner said she planned to “take an active role” representing local residents now she’s outside government and to “speak up for our country, our national interests and the great future that Britain has as a free, independent and sovereign nation.”
May is looking far less like the Iron Lady and more like a Monty Python sketch. Cabinet members running around uncontrolled is something we're used to here stateside, but to see it in London is kind of frightening. Trump gives us a valid excuse for the dysfunction at least.
What's May's excuse?