Donald Trump Reportedly Won’t Visit United Kingdom Unless Theresa May Bans Protests

Donald Trump is wildly unpopular in the United Kingdom, and that's apparently causing him to eschew visiting the United States's most important ally.

President Trump has reportedly told British Prime Minister Teresa May that he won’t visit the United Kingdom unless she can guarantee he won’t face massive protests:

Donald Trump is refusing to visit the UK unless Theresa May can ensure that he is not met with protests.

Bloomberg revealed that Trump complained in a phone call to May about the “negative coverage” he has received in the British press.

May told the US president that that was how the UK media operated and she could do little to change it.

Trump went on to say that he would not visit the UK unless there were guarantees that he would not be met with protests.

Advisers who had been listening to the phone call are reported to have been “astonished” at the demands.

As noted, the report comes from a wider-ranging piece published before Trump and May held a bilateral meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland chronicling the obviously rocky relationship between the President and the person who heads the government of what is arguably our most important ally. Suffice it to say that things have not gone well. In April, for example, when the possibility of an imminent Trump State Visit to Great Britain that would include a visit with Queen Elizabeth II was still being discussed, that Trump was reportedly demanding that he be taken for his visit with the Queen in the golden carriage occasionally used by world leaders for such purposes, although President Obama opted for the more modern option of the Presidential limousine during his State Visit. In June, it was reported that Trump was considering canceling the visit, was still in the planning stages but had not been scheduled, due to reports of plans to greet him with massive protests. By July, it was being reported that the visit was off due to fact that Trump was upset about the resoundingly bad coverage he gets from the British press on both sides of the political aisle. Most recently, it was announced that Trump had canceled a planned visit to London in May to open the new U.S. Embassy, which had been in the planning stages since George W. Bush’s Administration due to the fact that it was determined that the long-standing location of the embassy would have been prohibitively expensive to upgrade and secure in light of the new security requirements put in place after the September 11th attacks. Trump claimed at the time that he had canceled the visit because the Obama Administration had made a bad real estate deal was a bad one, but as with so many other things, it turns out that Trump’s accusation has absolutely no basis in fact.

If Trump does fail to visit the United Kingdom in the near future, would be a break from what had been a tradition for American President in the period after World War Two. With the notable exceptions of Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Gerald Ford, every President since Harry Truman has visited the United Kingdom at least once during their time in office. In most cases, the visit came within their first two years in office. For Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter, the U.K. was either the first foreign country they visited or among the first as part of a broader European tour. (Source) If Trump does fail to visit the United Kingdom this year, he will break a precedent that has been in place since Ronald Reagan was in office. While this is not necessarily a big thing, it is a sign of how strained the relationship between the United States and one of its closest and most important allies.

Much of the opposition to Trump in the U.K. is based in no small part on his policies, but his rhetoric, particularly comments directed toward British politicians, has also played a large role. The most notable example of that came when he engaged in a what amounted to 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. Perhaps the one thing that Trump did during his first year that caused the most controversy, though, came in November when he retweeted a tweet from a far-right British organization, something that he half-heartedly apologized for during a recent interview with ITV morning show host Piers Morgan.

It seems unlikely that the British people likely aren’t very disappointed that Trump hasn’t followed through on the visit that was discussed the first time that May and Trump met early last year. Public opinion polls, for example, show 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. Trump has also been heavily criticized by British politicians on all sides, including Members of Parliament from the ruling Conservative Party. Meanwhile,  it’s been made clear that the British public isn’t at all eager for a Trump visit, with some Britons planning a truly British welcome for the President should he come for a visit. If he’s trying to delay the trip because of those planned protests, then perhaps he’s the one who is the low-energy coward that he’s criticized many his opponents of being.

Despite Trump’s tantrums and the obvious antipathy toward him on the part of British, the “special relationship” between the U.S. and the U.K. is likely to remain strong for several reasons. For one thing, it’s fairly clear that both countries need each other in order to achieve their own goals even when those goals may contradict each other. In the case of the United States, Great Britain plays an important role in NATO and in world diplomacy and continues to be one of the few nations capable of assisting the United States with operations against terrorist elements in far-flung parts of the world. For Great Britain, a good relationship with the United States is crucial to maintaining its status as a leader on the world stage and that role is only likely to increase in the wake of the nation’s decision to leave the European Union. Things will likely be rocky as long as Trump is President because, well, it’s Trump, but in the long run the alliance remains secure for the foreseeable future. That being said, the antipathy that Trump generates on the other side of the pond due to his words, policies, and actions is likely to make things difficult for both parties.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Europe, National Security, US Politics, World Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Lounsbury says:

    All the better, waste of good money and protest energies if he came.

  2. Kathy says:

    if he wants a warm welcome in London, all he has to do is resign and apologize.

  3. Moosebreath says:

    I seem to recall that a recent President was attacked for alienating our longtime allies, but I guess such things don’t matter to real Americans if the President is a Republican.

  4. CSK says:

    If he’d been created from a template, Trump couldn’t embody better all the characteristics of the British stereotype of a “typical” American: loud, crude, stupid, vulgar, and hopelessly buffoonish. Even more so, he’s a perfect example of one of the time-honored subjects of British satire: the failed social climber. Of course he’s desperate to ride in that gold carriage. He’d shove the queen aside in order to lumber aboard it.

  5. Sleeping Dog says:

    The alleged demands being made of PM May again reveal what a shallow prima donna the Donald is. When Trump leaves the scene (hopefully soon), the US relationship will reset to the historical norm.

  6. al-Ameda says:

    ‘Normal’ Trump is polarizing and alienating. The only people who thus far like all of this are his base, and the leaders at Davos who don’t have to be near him, and who can appreciate tax cuts that benefit working class oligarchs

  7. michael reynolds says:

    The cowardice and weakness of this man keeps reaching new depths. Obama wasn’t afraid. Hillary wasn’t afraid. JFK, Nixon, LBJ, Bushes 1 and 2, all not afraid to face protests.

    But Trump is fragile. Weak. Insecure. He really calls to the submerged alpha male bully in me. I want to slap him across the face and watch him wilt. I want to make him really angry and laugh at his impotent rage. A paper tiger. A hollow man.

    See, this is not good. I’ve worked hard to keep that disgust for weakness and cowardice under control. I’m trying to be more generous and tolerant of weakness. But Jesus F. Christ, how do you call yourself a man and follow this quivering ball of goo? Is this what men think of as a leader now? Are we so far from the jungle that we’ve lost our ability to spot a coward? Are we so degraded as a sex that we’d be led by that?

    How Trumpaloons can tolerate worshipping this pathetic worm of a man I will never understand. Couldn’t they locate a fly-specked pig’s head to worship?

  8. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    They worship Trump because they regard all of his multitudinous bugs as features.

    There’s always been a strain of anti-intellectualism and anti-refinement (nurtured by Hollywood in its earlier days) in American popular culture. City slickers are evil; country bumpkins are virtuous. Starting in the early 1990s, Patrick Buchanan (peasants with pitchforks!) promoted the idea, and Rush Limbaugh gave it a wider audience. “The elites,” meaning anyone who’s enjoyed the benefits of some education, cultivation, and training in basic good manners, became evil oppressors whose greatest pleasure in life is exploiting and deriding “real” Americans.

    Trump’s just the apotheosis of this. He’s a swine who’s revered precisely for being a swine.

  9. Mister Bluster says:

    @michael reynolds:..Couldn’t they locate a fly-specked pig’s head to worship?

    Apparently not.

    God and Donald Trump
    The volume, written by Stephen Strang, a leading Pentecostal figure and the longtime publisher of Charisma magazine, is an easy read—part spiritual hagiography, part Fox News bulletin and part prophecy. It ultimately says far less about Trump than about the charismatic Pentecostals who were some of his earliest religious supporters and who now view his election as the fulfillment of God’s will.

  10. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    If you’re an evangelical, I suppose that’s one way you can reconcile yourself to Trump’s grotesque defects of character and egregious moral and ethical failings: pretend that God sent him.

  11. Lucy says:

    I’m a Londoner. There will be big protests, made bigger by the unpopularity of the May government in London. Someone needs to explain to Trump that Fox News doesn’t broadcast in the UK. If he comes he will have to deal with the fact he’s incredibly unpopular.

  12. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..What makes you think that they are pretending?

  13. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    The grifters and hucksters probably are.

  14. Kathy says:

    Hypothetical scene:

    Upon visiting the Queen, Trump graciously opens a door for her and tries to be self-deprecating (at much cost to his blood pressure) by saying “Age before beauty.”

    “Not at all,” says the Queen as she steps through the door, “pearls before swine.”

  15. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    Trump went on to say that he would not visit the UK unless there were guarantees that he would not be met with protests.

    Yes, but will he swear to it on a Stormy Daniels’ porn video?. We need assurance that he’s serious about this.

  16. CSK says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    I’d suggest he swear on a copy of Good Will Humping.

  17. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    BTW Doug, like the picture. It gives the post a nice Orwellian feel.

  18. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    “While this is not necessarily a big thing, it is a sign of howstrained the relationship between the United States and one of its closest and most important allies simultaneously massive and fragile Trump’s ego is

    Fixed that for you..

  19. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:


    Even more so, he’s a perfect example of one of the time-honored subjects of British satire: the failed social climber.

    Yes, he does seem to have a sort of Hyacinth Bucket feel to his life and demeanor, doesn’t he?

  20. Gustopher says:

    Given the quality of his staff, would Trump know if the Brits just lied to him and told them there would be no protests during his visit?

  21. CSK says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    Well, Trump certainly elicited the same range of amused contempt to appalled disbelief from the Manhattan haut monde as Hyacinth did from the circles she was trying to impress.

    I sometimes wonder if we’d have been spared a Trump presidency had he been able, forty years ago, to snag himself an impoverished blueblood for a wife. He would have gained some entree into the Upper East Side and Locust Valley or Dutchess County, and she would have gained some badly need cash. And such an alliance would have done a great deal to assuage those feelings of inadequacy and insecurity that plague him–and, consequently, us–to this day.

  22. CSK says:


    I can’t tell you how much I hope this happens. Picture it: Trump emerges–shoving Melania aside–from Air Force One, expecting to be greeted by hosannahs–and is faced, so to speak, by 20,000 sturdy Londoners mooning him.

  23. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @CSK: Interesting thought experiment. We’ll never know; too bad.

    Just as a side thought: how would infidelity play out in this scenario? Would a social climbing kraut from Queens be able to get away with that (because we have to assume that infidelity would be part of marrying “The Donald)?

  24. An Interested Party says:

    @Mister Bluster: Il Douche taints everything that he touches…I mean, it wasn’t like we didn’t already know that many evangelicals are sanctimonious prigs, but their defense of this pig is particularly odious…

  25. CSK says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    He might have been more discreet about his philandering, under threat of being cast out of The Magic Kingdom of Blue Blood, where his presence would have been at best tolerated. I doubt if he’d have had Liz Smith at the NYPost on speed dial to boast about his extramarital liaisons. Nor would he have staged and publicized a cat fight between Ivana and Marla on the Aspen slopes.

  26. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    CSK: Good points!

  27. Pete S says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: @CSK: He reminds me a bit of Basil Fawlty, so the Brits should understand him just fine. IMDB reference’s Basil’s “incompetence, short fuse and arrogance” – check, check, and check. Rudeness to Spanish speaking immigrants, check. If Basil had inherited a fortune from his father he would have been Donald Trump.

  28. Mike Schilling says:

    It wasn’t the first time that Trump had attacked Khan for reasons that only he can explain

    I think I can too.

  29. contentrewriter says:

    seo article rewriter v2.2 ultimate article spinner