First thing, you have a superb first-name. Your parents, however, must have known you would run for President, because with that as a first name, you would have been unelectable. But you changed it to Mitt, and thwarted their efforts. Anyway, water under the bridge.
Willard, can you imagine, for a moment, that you are attending a unique dinner party? The host or hostess is preparing a one-off meal. They are going to cook a complicated, time consuming, expensive and, ultimately, difficult dish. Don’t worry, they will be serving no wine.
For the sake of argument, let us pick “Lobster Thermidor” as the dish (trust me, it’s complicated – ask your cook). You are one of the guests, and as you sit back on the couch – maybe clutching a freshly pressed orange juice – you eye the person doing the cooking, and opine aloud that it would be hard to know just how this dish will turn out. Maybe it will be good, maybe disastrous.
In the subsequent silence, as the eyes of the other guests affix themselves incredulously upon you, pitying you as the ill-graced persona non-grata you have just become, you may understand what many in the UK think of you today.
Indeed, Willard, in another effortless addition to your gaffe pantheon, you announced today that you had doubts on whether the UK would be able to fully deliver the forthcoming Olympics. You said it would be hard to know: “Just how well it ... will turn out"
Now, as you know, the British have long been known to be quite prickly about social graces. After all, in what other country will people treat you like an reprehensible social leper if you queue-jump, eat soup with the wrong spoon, talk too loudly, serve red wine with fish, or hug the crowned head of state (Michelle Obama, take note)?
We can only imagine what you are like at home. Do you express similar vocal scepticism about how well your wife will fit into that new dress? Or how your neighbor’s new house in the Hamptons will turn out? Maybe this is normal behavior to you.
However, in almost any society, Willard, your remarks would be considered grounds for being sent to the impoliteness gulag. Ours is located the wildest of Scotland, where you could reside with Donald Trump on his golf course, and talk about birth certificates at leisure. Death might be preferable.
However, thankfully, the British are a civilized people who do not believe in holding others without trial on a strip of land largely immune from legal oversight. Take note, Willard.
Returning to your faux-pas (that’s French, for being an appalling social clutz), next time, listen to your foreign policy advisor and do not aggravate the British. The last American to do that and succeed was Eisenhower, and he had a huge army at his disposal. You’re not commander-in-chief of the 101st Airborne yet, Willard.
Now, do what you do best Willard. Strap your dog to the roof of your car, drive away, and go watch the Olympics for the spectacle that it will be. You see, we British are very forgiving, especially of Americans, and your ‘misspeaking’ will soon be forgotten.
Word of advice though: Never hug the Queen, ever.