Petronella Wyatt

Diary – 5 May 2016

Also in Petronella Wyatt’s diary: Coward and Fleming’s Jamaica; ex-PMs’ protection; Wallis Simpson’s figure

I am no admirer of Donald Trump — not because he is a doomsayer and professional patriot but because he is a fake and, worse, he owes me money. A few years back I was telephoned by a friend. ‘I have to give a dinner for Donald Trump,’ he said, dolorously. ‘He entertained me in Palm Beach and now he’s over here.’ The dinner was in a bijou Mayfair restaurant and we were a party of about eight. Let me say one thing for Trump: he isn’t stupid. We had never met, but he spotted me for an Englishwoman right away. The other guests were various members of the London ton, including an hereditary peer and the son of a duke (despite Mr Trump’s professed belief in the infallibility of the common people, he has unerring snobbisme and would rather meet a titled Englishman than George Washington, were he alive today.) Like many American Anglo-Saxons, he was crude, shallow and devoid of aesthetic feeling. He was wearing an ill-fitting jacket, the shoulders of which appeared to be padded. His hair was naturally red, not blond, and his complexion, like that of all redheads, defied the elements; everything — sun, wind, rain — had discoloured it. His hands were damp and his egg-like eyes looked me straight in the bosom.

Yet he was no Bombastes Furioso. He seemed timorous of speech and the burden of conversation fell on me. ‘I was in Washington recently,’ I said, in an attempt to interest him. ‘I saw Norma at the opera house.’ His reply bewildered me: ‘Norma who?’ Trump’s whole thought process seemed dislocated. I tried to get him on the subject of Ronald Reagan, but he had spotted Jerry Hall across the room and shouted ‘Hey, Jerry.’ He turned back to me: ‘Too liberal.’ ‘Who? Jerry Hall?’ ‘No, Reagan.’

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