DONALD TRUMP reportedly had a "toe-curling meltdown" in front of British Prime Minister Theresa May after discovering he'd missed a call from Russian presdient Vladimir Putin, a new BBC documentary has revealed.
When Trump met with May in January 2017, there was a palpable sense that these two people, each at the helm at a time of tumultuous political upheaval in both of their respective countries, couldn't be more different.
Mrs May, the reserved and politically cautious vicars' daughter, and Mr Trump, the truculent and self-obsessed New York real-estate mogul, were worlds apart.
The day got off to a promising start, though, when the president greeted Mrs May at the entrance of the White House.
No doubt feeling like Don Quixote by the time he’d escorted Britain’s second female Prime Minister to the Oval Office, the president then began to blather on about everything under the sun – his orbit, that is – and things began to unravel.
"When Theresa May sat down a conversation began that I don't think even the British could have anticipated," reveals Thomas Shannon, then US Under Secretary for Political Affairs, in the tell-all BBC series Trump Takes on the World.
"It was our President in full blossom, full bloom. And a stream of consciousness that ran the gamut from his own inauguration to his disdain for the press in the United States."
Trump then humiliated himself in front of his British counterpart.
Mrs May wanted to advise the newly elected US incumbent on what the Russian President Vladimir Putin was like and the dangers he posed to Western interests.
When she asked if Trump had spoken to Putin, he said he had not.
The White House Chief of Staff then chimed in, saying: "Mr President actually President Putin has called you but we're busy scheduling a return call."
A furious Trump admonished his aides for failing to notify him sooner and went off on a "toe-curling" rant – not let the matter go.
"Trump at this point looks not orange, but red," joked Fiona McLeod Hill, former Downing Street Chief of Staff.
"He flipped, furious. He said, 'You’re telling me Vladimir Putin called the White House and you’re only telling me now during this lunch?'.
"Honestly you could feel the tumbleweed just completely take over the entire lunch table and my toes were curling."
Trump then asked Mrs May, a passionate outdoorswoman, about her stance on climate change.
She said she was an ardent supporter of wildlife conservation, but midway through her answer, Mr Trump’s attention pivoted once again, this time to his National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn.
He said: "You're telling me that VP called the White House and you didn't tell me?"
Before their lunch, in another moment of Trumpian chivalry that left British aides surprised, the president clasped Mrs May’s hand in what appeared to be an awkward walk down the White House colonnades.
"He held her hand going through the colonnades, which took us all by surprise and took Theresa by surprise," says Fiona McLeod Hill.
"But I think she felt she couldn't take her hand back so she was stuck with her hand in the hand.
"And the first thing she said [afterwards] was 'I need to call Philip just to let him know that I’ve been holding hands with another man before it hits the media'."
Overall, the meeting didn’t come off a massive success.
K. T. McFarland, former US Deputy National Security Adviser, says: "The personal chemistry between President Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May was not great.
"President Trump thinks of himself as a strong leader and he likes to work with other strong leaders. Part of that is his business background. The image she gave was not one of strength."