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Trump May Cancel Trip To United Kingdom Due To Planned Protests

trump-syria-strike

President Trump is scheduled to visit the United Kingdom later this year thanks to an invitation that will reportedly include a State Dinner hosted by Queen Elizabeth II, but there are reports out today that the trip may be delayed due to planned protests against Trump:

President Trump is considering scrapping or postponing a planned visit to Britain later this year amid a billowing backlash over comments he made after the recent terrorist attack in London, two administration officials said.

Over the past week, Mr. Trump has expressed increasing skepticism to aides about the trip after coming under intense criticism for a misleading charge he leveled against London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan. A day after terrorists killed eight people in the British capital, Mr. Trump went after Mr. Khan on Twitter, saying the mayor had played down the danger to citizens in the wake of the assault.

The visit was originally scheduled as part of a trip to Europe next month. Then it was tentatively penciled in for the fall. National Security Council and State Department officials were working on the details but had not undertaken the usual “preadvance” trip to work out the specific logistics of joint appearances, said a person familar with the situation.

Mr. Trump, who was visiting his golf course in Bedminster, N.J., over the weekend, has not definitively ruled out going, the officials said. But he has told his staff that he wants to avoid a marathon overseas trip like his nine-day trek to the Middle East and Europe, which he found exhausting and overly long.

One other factor leading to his reluctance, said one of the officials, is his preference for having foreign leaders visit him — not the other way around.

But optics and politics are major considerations, too. Mr. Trump is deeply unpopular in Britain, and any visit by him — let alone a state visit with all its pomp — would probably be met with widescale protests. Recent polls have found that more than half of the British public views Mr. Trump as a threat to global stability.

At the same time, his poll numbers at home are hitting historic lows. The president has avoided trips to his home in New York, in part because of the potential for disruptions, several people in his orbit have said.

Mr. Trump has discussed the potential difficulties of a trip to Britain with Prime Minister Theresa May, who had a stunning setback in parliamentary elections on Thursday, although the subject of a visit was not raised when they spoke on the phone last week, the officials said.

Mrs. May’s office, responding to a report in The Guardian that Mr. Trump did not want to visit Britain until he had more public support, issued a statement on Sunday saying there had been “no change” to plans for a state visit.

“We aren’t going to comment on speculation about the contents of private phone conversations,” a spokeswoman for Mrs. May’s office said. “The queen extended an invitation to President Trump to visit the U.K., and there is no change to those plans.” Mrs. May extended the invitation to the president around the time of his inauguration.

A postponement of the visit has been seen as a possibility for some time. On Friday, a senior national security official, briefing reporters aboard Air Force One, announced that the president had added a stop in Poland to his early July trip to Hamburg, Germany, for the Group of 20 summit meeting. But the official made a point of not discussing the Britain visit, saying that only the Germany and Poland legs of the trip had been planned.

Officials in Mrs. May’s government have also avoided publicly discussing Mr. Trump’s possible visit. Some senior diplomats, including Peter Ricketts, who was the national security adviser under David Cameron, Mrs. May’s predecessor as prime minister in the Conservative government, have said it is too early for a formal state visit. Those are normally granted after several years in office, if at all. But Mr. Ricketts said he had no objection to a governmental visit.

During a joint news conference at the White House in January, Mrs. May said that Queen Elizabeth II had extended the invitation for a state visit, adding that the monarch was “delighted that the president has accepted that invitation.”

In the months since, Mr. Trump has remained a deeply polarizing figure in the United States and in Britain.

As noted above, the reports of a cancellation or delay originated with a report in The Guardian that cited sources saying that Trump didn’t want to visit if there were going to be mass protests, as many reports have indicated there would be. The reports also come just days after Trump had engaged in a Twitter war with London Mayor Sadiq Khan that began with Trump attacking Khan in the wake of the terror attack in Central London. This bizarre Twitter rant on Trump’s part baffled his critics and led former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden to call Trump “irresponsible” for attacking the Mayor in the wake of a serious terrorist attack. It wasn’t the first time that Trump had attacked Khan for reasons that only he can explain, and it generated much commentary regarding just how welcome Trump would be if he visited London anytime in the near future. For what it’s worth, the BBC is reporting that the Prime Minister’s office is reporting no change in current plans for a Trump visit in the fall, but that’s far short of an outright denial. As of now, the White House has not commented on the question.

For what it’s worth, the people of the United Kingdom don’t seem at all eager for a visit from the 45th President of the United States. Public opinion polls have shown that the majority of the public in the U.K. has a negative view of Trump, and it’s likely that his comments about Mayor Khan have only made that situation worse. When his planned visit was first announced, many Members of the House of Commons in both the Conservative and Labour parties spoke out against the idea of giving him honors given some of his past statements about Great Britain and his positions on issues such as immigration in general and Muslims in particular. Some Britons have even planned a truly British welcome for the President should he come for a visit. If he’s trying to delay the trip because of those protests because of the planned protests, then perhaps he’s the one who is the low-energy coward that he’s criticized many his opponents of being.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Bob says:

    Maybe the Brits told President Covfefe could not ride in the royal carriage, as he once demanded. He’s just pouting.

    http://nypost.com/2017/04/15/trumps-demand-for-carriage-ride-with-queen-roils-british-security/

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  2. Gustopher says:

    If we plan enough protests here, will he cancel the rest of his presidency?

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  3. Gustopher says:

    Also, what is it with Trump and people named Khan? First the gold star family, and now the mayor of London.

    He also doesn’t come out well in any of these encounters. He should probably just be quiet any time there is a Khan around. I fear for him if he gets into an argument with Chaka Khan.

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  4. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: All that would get us is President Pence. I’m not sure, but we may like that even less, and he has a far thicker skin than Trump.

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  5. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher:

    He should probably just be quiet any time there is a Khan around.

    Felt I should FTFY.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  6. Mr. Prosser says:

    This may be a proactive face-saver not only because of protests but if May gets booted prior to the scheduled visit, especially if the invitation would be rescinded by her replacement.

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  7. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:

    Oh, thanks for the Chaka Khan crack, pal. I just sprayed vodka and cranberry juice all over my monitor.

    @Mr. Prosser:

    The queen issues the invitation. But she probably would like to rescind it.

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  8. Mr Bluster says:

    If he’s trying to delay the trip because of those protests because of the planned protests (sic), then perhaps he’s the one who is the low-energy coward that he’s criticized many his opponents of being.

    At least Nixon took his lumps as veep.
    All President Pud (rhymes with mud) has ever done is brag about sexually molesting women.
    But he’s an outsider. A businessman with no political experience so it’s all good!

    Historical omen?
    Can that be Tricky Dick riding in a 1958 Edsel in Buenos Aires at 0:30 in this newsreel?

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  9. CSK says:

    “Low energy coward”…You got that right, Doug. Perfect description.

    “Gutless slobbering buffoon” works for me, too.

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  10. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @CSK:

    Technically the palace issues the invitation, but it does so at the behest of the PM. Don’t confuse May wanting to kiss Trump’s ass with her Majesty wanting him there.

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  11. CSK says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I find it difficult, if not impossible, to imagine why anyone, anywhere, any time, would want to kiss that flabby, sagging, mottled derriere.

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  12. Slugger says:

    The White House Correspondents’ dinner, addressing the Knesset, and now this. I am sensing a pattern here. Mr. Trump, you are welcome at my house, but we can’t let the neighbors know.

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  13. Mu says:

    He’s just afraid of CNN reporting “More people came to protest his visit than came to his inauguration parade”

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  14. Andre Kenji says:

    I understand American Presidents afraid of going to Argentina because of protests. But a f* American President being afraid of going to the United Kingdom because of protests is a first to me.

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  15. MarkedMan says:

    What a loser

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  16. Argon says:

    He must prefer countries where protesters ‘disappear’.

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  17. rachel says:

    @Argon: We know his Commerce Secretary does.

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  18. Facebones says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: Yeah. Pence is a True Believer, but because he has such a bland persona the media will act like he’s a sensible moderate while he turns the US into Gilead from the Handmaid’s Tale.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  19. charon says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    What is ironic is he is sending his lackeys out to call James Comey a wuss, that is their anti-Comey stratergery – he is such a coward himself.

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  20. Fog says:

    George Soros is paying the entire world to protest. Sad.

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  21. Franklin says:

    @Fog: God that guy is rich.

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  22. Hal_10000 says:

    I was trying to explain UK politics to a conservative friend recently and it went like so:

    “Well, the conservatives in Britain are a lot further to the Left than we’re used to . They’d probably be the equivalent of Democrats.”
    “So what does that make Labour?”
    “I dunno. Bernie, maybe?”
    “So who would be the equivalent of Trump?”
    “You know those pictures from the vote when all the candidates stand together, including the ones dressed up as clowns or jedi knights or whatever? He’d be one those guys dressed up as a clown.”
    “Ah, Very Silly Party, then.”
    “Very Very Silly, yes.”

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  23. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Fog:

    George Soros is paying the entire world to protest. Sad.

    The IQ of Trump supporters is awe-inspiring.

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  24. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    I think he was being facetious.

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  25. teve tory says:

    Darryl’s sarcasm meter needs calibrating.

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  26. teve tory says:

    Not his fault, really, I’m sure there are plenty of conservative sites where that comment would be said in earnest. In America, ‘conservative’ is an awfully close synonym for ‘stupid’.

    Evolution denial, global warming denial, supply-side economics, etc etc etc.

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