Estragon: And if we dropped him? (Pause.) If we dropped him?
Vladimir: He’d punish us.
Trump is more like the bombastic Pozzo than the absent character of the title. But the Waiting for Godot solution is the least worst one for the Government as it ponders how best to handle the President’s proposed state visit.
It is hard to see how the visit going ahead can do anything but harm to Theresa May with British voters, even though any political damage would probably be fleeting, since most of them have more pressing matters to worry about.
And it is hard to see how the visit being cancelled could do anything but harm to Theresa May with the Trump administration, even though security co-operation would doubtless continue, and those in Congress who back a trade deal would probably continue to do so.
Which leaves giving it more of the Samuel Beckett treatment. It has already received some of it. Readers will remember reports from last summer that the visit had been postponed.
There is a point at which it would be impossible not to cancel it formally. Tweeting a British neo-nazi leader, albeit at second hand, comes closer to it. And tweeting back at May, after she responded, as she was bound to do, perhaps closer still.
But the logic that this site has set out previously still applies: namely, that we need the United States to help with national security, Brexit, trade, and for its wider role as a bearer of light, at least compared to Russia or China. Besides, it is a cousin country.
Talking of which, Xi Jinping has made a state visit to Britain – addressing Parliamentarians in the Royal Gallery, to boot. If he can make such a trip, why can’t Trump? The question has force.
That America is currently led by its present President is a temporary phenomenon which will pass (we hope). And that the business of American Government seems to carry on much as usual, regardless of his tweets, is reassuring and significant (we hope too).
In the play, the two tramps want Godot to come, which he doesn’t. In real life, May and her government clearly don’t want Trump to come, but felt they had to invite him. None the less, the best outcome is the same –
Vladimir: He won’t come this evening.
Boy: No, sir.
Vladimir: But he’ll come tomorrow.
Boy: Yes, sir.
Vladimir: Without fail.
Boy: Yes, sir.