Donald Trump’s visit to the UK was never going to be dull. His unpopularity alone would have been enough to provide an energetic backdrop to his first official state visit, having been invited here by Theresa May in another one of her moments of madness two and a half years ago.

Trump is only the third US president to have been afforded the pomp and ceremony of a state visit, after Barack Obama in 2011 and before him, George Bush in 2003.

It’s an offer that should never have been made because this visit has helped to legitimise Trump’s aggressive behaviour and his destructive policies.

As we now know all too well, Trump has an innate ability to turn proceedings on their nose with his controversial comments and erratic behaviour. This visit was no different.

Days before he arrived he was meddling in UK affairs, offering support for Boris Johnson in the conservative leader contest and suggesting Nigel Farage should have a place in Brexit negotiations. He’s not the first to comment on domestic affairs, of course, but where Barack Obama was criticised for it, Trump has been lauded.

Then before he even landed at Stansted Airport he had launched a stinging attack on the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, calling him a “stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London” and mocking his height.

His erratic outbursts have become such a common feature of his presidency that it’s something if we see a mere eye roll in response.

But why are so many people still laughing at his inflammatory and divisive comments like they are the work of a child who doesn’t know any better? His personal insults are not a game, regardless of how he might try to make it look that way. And more people in positions of power and authority should be calling the behaviours out for what they are: the tactics of a bully.

Why should we ever “get used” to such controversial and combative rhetoric, as Jeremy Hunt suggested when asked what he thought about Trump’s criticism of Khan?

Surely the real danger is when the inflammatory statements become so routine that we expect them and allow them to become normalised in society.

Controversy is only “part of the deal” with Trump because those in positions of authority, like Hunt and May, refuse to admonish him for it when they have the opportunity.

Rather than joking about the attack on Khan and going so far as to defend him, how refreshing would it have been to hear Hunt disagree wholeheartedly and show Trump and others that attacking politicians in such a personal manner, regardless of their party, is wrong and goes against our common values.

Many will herald the visit as a vital step in ensuring a trade deal between the UK and US after Brexit. But this state visit had little diplomatic importance for the UK, particularly as Theresa May is a lame duck Prime Minister.

Trump is more interested in her successor. Back home in the United States, however, being hosted by the Queen and being shown the red carpet treatment is of enormous value for a president who is preparing to begin his pre-election campaign in a few weeks.

For a man who thrives on drama and the spotlight, he did seem genuinely interested in the tour of Buckingham Palace, talking to British military in the gardens, taking his time to stop and speak to many of the Grenadier guards. But overall, the visit was a PR exercise.

The optics have been immense and the president will be able to bank on the value of the images of pomp and pageantry for months to come.

It’s easy for many of us on this side of the Atlantic to get caught up in that element of the visit too.

But it’s worth a reminder to all those gloating over his interest in Britain that Trump – and indeed America’s – interests are unsentimental. In any trade deal that may be forthcoming with the US, the UK will be akin to the vulnerable party in a coercive relationship.

It will a very one-sided affair where the US comes up trumps.