In early June, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt stood on the airport tarmac waiting to greet President Donald Trump. Following the resignation of Theresa May, a Conservative leadership competition was underway, and Hunt was desperate to further ascend the greasy pole. The President’s state visit was a great opportunity for Hunt to raise his profile and look statesmanlike.

Air Force One lumbered into view, touched down, and came to a stop. Then nothing happened. For about 20 minutes, according to Hunt, he stood rigidly expecting the President and the First Lady to emerge. Was the Commander in Chief attending to some pressing matters of state? Had Air Force One’s door malfunctioned?

The real reason turned out to be Twitter. President Trump was inside, firing off angry tweets at London Mayor Sadiq Khan:

@SadiqKhan who by all accounts has done a terrible job as Mayor of London, has been foolishly ‘nasty’ to the visiting President of the United States, by far the most important ally of the United Kingdom,” Trump typed. “He is a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me.

Quite an entrée. British pundits were quick to register disapproval: Trump had begun his visit by lashing out at a British Muslim leader. Various anti-Trump grandees declared their support for Khan against the Orange Monster. Others pointed out in Trump’s defense that Khan had started the fight by saying that Trump’s values were incompatible with London’s.

My view is that the President should not have stooped to the level of Sadiq Khan, who is little more than a left-liberal troll these days, but Twitter Trump is incorrigibly combative. He probably didn’t understand that London mayors are not quite as important as New York mayors. The only time most Britons hear about Khan these days is when we learn about him failing to tackle knife-crime, or fighting on social media with the American president.

Away from his smartphone, Trump seemed determined to be on his best behavior—to honor the stately British “pomp and circumstance” his Scottish mother so loved. The fact that it was a state visit, ahead of the 75th D-Day anniversary, added a certain gravity, even solemnity. He tried to be courteous with the Queen, which was touching. Snobs disparaged the first family’s fashion sense, but most Brits probably thought they looked a fairly decent bunch.

In the buildup to Trump’s arrival, commentators had been desperate to say that he would interfere in British politics at a difficult time. It is well-known that Trump is a fan of Brexit; of Boris Johnson, the strong favorite to be the next prime minister; and of the populist Nigel Farage.

In fact, for all Trump’s capriciousness, he has been remarkably consistent in his message to Brexit Britain. “You just have to embrace it,” he said at his golf course in Turnberry, Scotland, on June 24, 2016, the day after the EU referendum. “It’s the will of the people. I love to see people take their countries back.”

Trump being Trump, he relished opining on the Tory scramble for power, perhaps enjoying the Apprentice-like drama of candidates vying for the same job. Again, he wanted to play nice. In a June 4 joint press conference with outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump said he liked Boris Johnson but he also Jeremy Hunt. He called Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn “somewhat of a negative force,” but was full of praise for May and her attempts to solve the great conundrum that is Brexit. “She’s probably a better negotiator than I am,” he said, not quite managing to look sincere. Directly to May, he remarked, “Perhaps you won’t be given the credit that you deserve…But I think you deserve a lot credit.” It was almost sweet.

For all the hoopla, Trump’s alleged interference in British politics ended up not mattering at all. Johnson declined to see him, which was probably wise given his delicate position as he seeks to be PM. 

What was most remarkable was how much friendlier Britain was towards Trump compared to last year. Global anti-Trump hysteria has waned. There were protests, of course, but they were small and pathetic—nothing on last year’s. The silly Baby Trump blimp went up again, a British man in a red Trump hat got a milkshake thrown on him, supposedly anti-fascist activists trampled over an old man—but that was about it. Almost everybody I spoke to said they were either pleasantly surprised by America’s president or encouraged by his enthusiasm for Brexit. For the second year running, a pub near my house turned itself into the “Trump Arms” and put out lots of Stars and Stripes bunting to mark his visit. Last year, my neighbors seemed appalled at the gesture. This year, several friends suggested a pint there to toast the special relationship. The times they are a-changin’.