Trump Can Learn from Theresa May

Jason Alden | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Donald Trump graced the front page of U.K. newspapers earlier this week, promising to make BREXIT great with a "quick" trade deal when he takes office. But rather than the U.K. Prime Minister calling on the White House for help, it might be Theresa May who holds the keys to making America great again.

As the 45th President takes the Oath of office before ahistorically divided nation, he should repeat a message that the Prime Minister delivered to a crowded room of elites at the World Economic Forum in Davos: Globalization is good and free trade is still the tide that lifts all boats.

Too many people have been thrown overboard in the aftermath of the financial crisis, but President Trump should resist the urge to usher ina new era of protectionism and instead follow Prime Minister May's lead infighting for a more accountable and inclusive economic liberalism.

The word "global" was mentioned 18 times in Theresa May's 12-point BREXIT plan unveiled earlier this week, during which she pledged to be the best friend of Europe while becoming an even bigger player on the world stage. When the Prime Minister took this pitch to Davos, she lent an ear to those who have been left out of the the immense prosperity enjoyed by the jet-setters in the Swiss Alps.

She admitted that "talk of greater globalization can make people fearful." But rather than seize on these anxieties for her own political gain, May is offering Britons a future with open-borders and tolerance, where people are no longer governed by fear.

It marks a stark contrast to Trump's policy platform of building walls and imposing tariffs along the border with Mexico. The trouble with Trump's protectionist prescription is that it won't improve the plight of the blue-collar worker, who he aims to protect. According to the non-profit Center for Automotive Research, withdrawing from NAFTA and introducing a 35 percent tariff on imported cars and parts would cause vehicle prices to spike and at least 31,000 US auto manufacturing jobs to be lost.

The truth is, as Theresa May told CNBC in Davos: Globalization creates jobs and prosperity. You only need to look at the international footprint of Trump's vast business empire and the makeup of his billionaire cabinet to realize that the president-elect shares this belief. Investors and voters alike would be well served if President Trump followed in Theresa May's footsteps by giving his base a bit more of what they need, as opposed to telling them what they want to hear.

That applies to Inauguration Day as well as Twitter. Trump may have mastered the 'Art of the Deal' but he could learn a thing or two from Theresa May about the Art of Discretion. The Prime Minister struck down criticism that she lacks a plan in her Brexit speech, saying "It's not my job to fill column inches with daily updates, but to get the right deal for Britain."

There have been numerous parallels drawn between the shock EU referendum vote and Trump's road to the White House. A candidate Trump even predicted we would be calling him "Mr Brexit" one day.

But as the U.K.government sets down a path toward a more global, competitive and open Britain outside the European Union, it appears those parallels are starting to diverge.It will be up to the 45th President of the United States to decide whether America First means America Alone, or whether to make the U.S.-U.K. special relationship great again.

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