LONDON—In political communications, they call it a “grip and grin” or a “spray”: Two leaders shake hands and answer a couple of shouted questions while photographers capture the occasion for posterity. Two or three minutes are typically allocated in the diplomatic schedules that have been painstakingly constructed over months of meetings. On Tuesday morning, Donald Trump tossed the entire plan into the trash and embarked on a 52-minute free-association ramble through global affairs.
It’s exactly why everyone was dreading this NATO leaders meeting.
The hosts for this 70th anniversary bash—the British government and the royal family—are both tip-toeing their way through extremely delicate domestic matters. Boris Johnson is trying to convince the nation to vote him back into No. 10 in an election he didn’t need to call, while the Queen and senior royals are trying to contain the damage caused by lurid allegations of sex-trafficking leveled at Prince Andrew.