My London driver Roger knows President Trump well.
Earlier this week, after attending the State Banquet hosted by Queen Elizabeth, Roger takes me to Heathrow airport.
He sums up the evolving British attitude toward President Trump.
“They are quite warming to him,” he says, adding, “It took a while.”
It’s Wednesday morning and Roger tells me the BBC radio show “Today” just reported that anticipated protests against the president all but fizzled.
British authorities counted the anti-Trump protesters at maybe 20,000.
This, he says, is a far cry from the 250,000 that were expected to put the city and the American president under siege.
I first met Roger last year when Prime Minister May invited me to Blenheim Palace for her dinner honoring President Trump and the First Lady.
The hotel organized a car for me and Roger was my driver.
Roger is English. I noted a slight American inflection in his accent.
He explained he once lived in the U.S. and worked for a limo service in West Palm Beach, Florida.
It was the late '90s and early 2000s and, as it turned out, his car company had the account for Mar-a-Lago on Palm Beach Island.
He soon got to know its proprietor, “Mr. Trump,” as Roger refers to him in a reverential tone.
A nice coincidence, I thought as we talked.
Of all the drivers, I get the one who worked for Mar-a- Lago, where I am a member, and he even knows the owner!
Roger was fairly glib about his interactions with Mr. Trump.
He liked him.
And he recalled that all of the staff he ever met at the club liked him, as did most of the VIP guests he serviced there.
One anecdote stands out.
Roger recalled the first time he talked with Mr. Trump.
It was a hot weekend afternoon and he was in his limo waiting in the club parking lot for a guest.
A few times he got of his car to stretch his legs.
While in the car, he’s startled by a knocking sound on the window.
It’s Mr. Trump wearing a golf outfit.
Apparently Mr. Trump had noticed Roger getting in and out of the car, spotting him from a nearby window.
He wanted to know if there was any problem he could help with.
Roger quickly explained the situation.
Mr. Trump then segued into a long conversation that was interrupted by the boss ordering cold Cokes served to them in the parking lot.
At the end of the conversation, Mr. Trump surprised Roger by offering him a job to work for him at the Club.
Roger considered the offer but turned it down, knowing he planned to return to England.
Most might take the driver’s remembrances as hype. I didn’t. It was classic Trump.
Long before he went officially into politics, Donald Trump connected with ordinary people in a special way.
He’s nothing like the man depicted on networks like CNN and MSNBC.
Back to last year: the ride to Blenheim with Roger lasted over an hour.
The country road leading up to the palace is narrow and a cordon of police lined the roads.
Still, thousands of protesters pushed into the overflowing road.
The black sedans inched slowly along as thousands of protesters chanted “greed, greed, greed” and a few other not nice things.
Soon, the protesters were pounding on our car windows.
I started thinking this could get nasty quickly. Were there enough police if the crowd got out of control?
We did make it into the palace grounds safely, but at least one car I spotted had its window smashed completely.
Tensions and anger against the president were quite high last year.
Now it’s not a year later and much of that has dissipated, at least in Britain.
President Trump received generally positive press from a press that doesn’t warm well to VIPs.
Clearly Britons have come to realize Donald Trump is advocating for Britain. He wants it to be strong and independent.
He doesn’t want Germany calling the shots in Europe.
He also wants to continue America’s very special relationship with the British.
This is a real turn from the Obama days when America was pivoting away from the Mother Country toward Germany and Asia, symbolized when the bust of Winston Churchill found its placement downgraded in the White House.
One cannot underestimate the role the Queen has played in improving relations between the Trump administration and Britain.
On this trip she proved a bridge builder. It was not an easy tightrope to walk.
Her Prime Minister, Theresa May, is a lame duck. The governing Conservative party is in disarray as a hard Brexit date looms.
President Trump has deep ties with Britain. His mother was born in Scotland and he owns two golf courses in the United Kingdom.
Over many years he has spoken to me of the British in fond and glowing terms.
There is no doubt that today he sees Britain as the cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy, at least as far as Europe is concerned.
And he likes the Brits on a personal level, an all important factor for this President.
If you don’t think so, just ask Roger.
Christopher Ruddy is CEO of Newsmax, one of the country's leading conservative news outlets. Read more Christopher Ruddy Insider articles — Click Here Now.
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