Patrick Gower: English tries to hide from the reality of Trump's America

The fallout from president Donald Trump's belligerent Twitter storm has made it all the way from Washington to Wellington, with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson forced to defend him.

When asked about the unpredictability of the recent tweets by the President, Mr Tillerson called them "unique".

"The President has his own unique ways of communicating with the American people and the World - and it has served him pretty well - and I don't intend to advise him on how he ought to communicate, that's up to him," he said.

"Unique" is one word for it. President Trump used Twitter to criticise Sadiq Khan's response to the London Bridge attack saying:

"At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is "no reason to be alarmed!"

It was completely out of context - Mr Khan had actually said that Londoners should not be alarmed by seeing extra police - but the President didn't seem to care.

Since then he has doubled down, tweeting:

"Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his "no reason to be alarmed" statement."

Mr Trump's tweets have gone global, but strangely Prime Minister Bill English claimed that he had not seen them, and declining to comment.

"I actually haven't seen those tweets. So I can't comment on it," he said.

For most people, the tweeting is a symbol of a presidency in crisis... And it just keeps on coming.

The President has criticised his own Justice Department, saying it should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, "politically correct" version.

Yet the Prime Minister did not raise any concerns about President Trump's leadership style.

Mr English said "I don't think it is our position to comment on the way the elected leader of another country conducts his business - we wouldn't expect him to be raising issues about my Facebook."

He appears to be trying to pretend the events of recent days haven't happened.

Labour leader Andrew Little has taken a totally different approach.

"I think it is right to say you know what - right now you've got a President that is kind of doing some weird stuff and this is not right."

The Opposition leader used his face-time with the Secretary of State to tackle "The Donald" head on.

"Every New Zealander I talk to expresses concern and sometimes alarm about the conduct of the US President. I think it is right when the Secretary of State is in town to let the Secretary of State know".

As America's foreign policy chief, Rex Tillerson faces a number of challenges - like defending "America First" decisions on trade and climate change.

He wouldn't label the President's behaviour as unpredictable.

"Well, I would take exception to your characterisation of it being unpredictable. The President ran his campaign on the intention to withdraw from the TPP and the Paris Climate Accord... Clearly that also represents the will of the American people."

Back in America, a truly huge challenge is coming. The FBI Director that President Trump sacked, James Comey, will give evidence this week about links between team Trump and Russia.

Mr Tillerson was questioned by US media on Tuesday at Premier House, asked if he was worried that the US links with Russia would take down the Trump administration.

"I can't really comment on any of that, because I have no direct knowledge, it would be inappropriate with me to make any comment," the Secretary of State responded.

He left Wellington in slightly better weather, but he's heading home to one hell of a storm.

The visit showed there are "two Americas" - the one New Zealand is used to dealing with, and the New one run by Donald Trump that people are concerned or even frightened of.

Bill English clearly wants to hide from the new America - problem is, he can't.

Patrick Gower is the political editor for Newshub.

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