Tensions flare as Donald Trump touches down in UK for state visit
Monday - 03/06/2019 09:56
The US President has touched down for a three-day visit to Britain, having already stirred up anger with his comments on Brexit and Meghan Markle.
Donald Trump has arrived in the UK for a state visit amid soaring tensions as he waded into British politics even before touching down.
The US President was accompanied by wife Melania as he arrived at Stansted Airport in Air Force One for what is set to be a tumultuous week.
Mr Trump has stirred anger in Brexit-battered Britain over recent days, calling for Boris Johnson to replace Theresa May as UK prime minister, calling Meghan Markle “nasty” and insisting Nigel Farage should have a role in European negotiations.
He dismissed London mayor Sadiq Khan as “very dumb” and “incompetent”, after the Labour politician called the President “one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat”, in a Sunday opinion piece for The Observer.
The US ambassador also appalled the British public by saying every area of the UK economy would be under discussion in a trade deal, including the nation’s treasured National Health Service.
Mr Trump is headed to London for a two-day whirlwind of pomp, circumstance and protests, which begins with the Queen hosting a ceremonial welcome at Buckingham Palace, moves on to a formal tea with Prince Charles and ends with a sumptuous state banquet on Monday night.
.@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. He is a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me......
....Kahn reminds me very much of our very dumb and incompetent Mayor of NYC, de Blasio, who has also done a terrible job - only half his height. In any event, I look forward to being a great friend to the United Kingdom, and am looking very much forward to my visit. Landing now!
On Tuesday, he will meet Mrs May at Downing Street, with a massive protest expected in central London. Demonstrators are resurrecting the “Trump baby blimp” as they march through Trafalgar Square and gather outside parliament, while the President meets with UK politicians. On Mr Trump’s last visit the UK, 250,000 people turned out to protest.
He will then head to Portsmouth on the south coast for a D-Day commemoration ceremony on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will also be in the London for bilateral and business meetings on Tuesday before attending the D-Day events with world leaders including France’s Emmanuel Macron and Canada’s Justin Trudeau.
The agenda for Mr Trump’s week-long journey is largely ceremonial: a state visit and an audience with Queen Elizabeth II in London, D-Day commemoration ceremonies on both sides of the English Channel and his first presidential visit to Ireland, which will include a stay at his coastal golf club.
On his most recent European visit, last November in France, Mr Trump faced strong criticism after skipping a ceremony at an American military cemetery to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I when rain grounded his helicopter.
But the visit comes at a fraught time in British politics, with Mrs May due to step down as leader of the Conservative Party on Friday over the country’s Brexit turmoil.
The UK parliament has repeatedly rejected Mrs May’s divorce deal with the European Union, which Mr Trump has previously criticised.
On previous visits to Europe, Mr Trump has strained historic friendships and insulted his hosts. This time, he faces an ally in turmoil and a global call to renew democratic pacts.
The President also faces troubled times back home, with fresh calls for impeachment after Robert Mueller’s comments on the Russia probe.
Mr Macron is expected to use the 75th anniversary of the World War II battle that turned the tide in Europe to call for strengthening multinational ties.