Mr. Trump began his three-day visit with a Twitter tirade against London Mayor Sadiq Khan. In a series of tweets sent as Air Force One was about to land, Mr. Trump called the mayor a stone cold loser who by all accounts has done a terrible job as Mayor of London. He added that: Kahn [sic] reminds me very much of our very dumb and incompetent Mayor of NYC, [Bill] de Blasio, who has also done a terrible job – only half his height.
The President and Mr. Khan have had a long-running feud and over the weekend the mayor fuelled the animosity by writing in a newspaper article that Mr. Trump was part of a growing global threat which used the same divisive tropes of the fascists of the 20th century to garner support, but with new sinister methods to deliver their message. Mr. Khan kept up the attack on Monday with a video denouncing Mr. Trump; President Trump, if you are watching this, your values, and what you stand for, are the opposite of Londons values and the values of this country.
Trump begins visit reigniting feud with London mayor
The nasty exchanges came against a backdrop of high formality and regal pageantry as members of the Royal Family rolled out the red carpet for Mr. Trump, the first lady and their family. The Queen received them for a lunch and planned a state dinner at Buckingham Palace Monday evening while Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, welcomed the Trumps to Clarence House for tea.
Never shy about weighing in on other countries affairs, Trump also told the Sunday Times that Britain should walk away from Brexit talks and refuse to pay a 39 billion pound ($49 billion) divorce bill if it doesnt get better terms from the European Union. He said he might meet with another pro-Brexit politician, Nigel Farage, and claimed Farage should be given a role in the Brexit negotiations.
Queen welcomes Donald and Melania Trump to lavish state banquet
The Queen also gave Mr. Trump and his family a private tour of some of her art collection. Mr. Trump also visited Westminster Abbey to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and on Wednesday he will join the Queen and other dignitaries in Portsmouth for a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
The centerpiece of the presidents European trip will be two days to mark the 75th anniversary of the June 6, 1944, D-Day landing, likely the last significant commemoration most veterans of the battle will see. The events will begin in Portsmouth, England, where the invasion was launched, and then move across the Channel to France, where Allied forces began to recapture Western Europe from the Nazis.
The President didnt mingle with the public and crowds were kept away from the Trumps as they travelled around the city largely by helicopter. London is not a particularly welcoming place for Mr. Trump and one recent opinion poll found that just 9 per cent of Londoners believe he has done a good or great job as president. Mr. Trump largely avoided the city last July during a working visit to Britain and British officials scrapped plans for a carriage ride down The Mall as part of this state visit.
After lunch with the queen, Trump was given a biography of Winston Churchill as a gift — hes a fan — and shown parts of the collection at Buckingham Palace, including an 18th-century map of New York, historic photos of golf at St. Andrews and books about birds and George Washington. Westminster Abbey was next, with a tour and moment of silence at the tomb of the Unknown Warrior.
That didnt stop some Trump supporters from gathering outside of Buckingham Palace on Monday to catch a glimpse of their hero. I love him, said Amy Dallamura, an American and British citizen who voted for Mr. Trump in 2016 and is convinced hell win re-election next year. Hes a miracle worker. Hes created six million jobs, the [gross domestic product] is growing at over 3 per cent, the unemployment rate is at its lowest in history.
Not everyone was thrilled to see Mr. Trump. Im against his ideology, said Hada Morena as she arrived at the palace with a sign that read; Love the good American people. Hate Trumps. Ms. Morena said, Trumpism is a very dangerous ideology that is spreading around the globe. Everything that he stands for is against our British values of democracy, freedom, tolerance, equality and respect to other religions.
For the most part, though, the crowds remained small and largely quiet as Mr. Trump and his family moved around the city. That wont be the case on Tuesday when a march is planned from Trafalgar Square to Westminster to protest the Presidents visit.
Mr. Trump will meet Prime Minister Theresa May at No. 10 Downing St. on Tuesday for what could be an awkward exchange. Ms. May is stepping down as leader of the Conservative Party on Friday and the race to succeed her has already begun with the winner expected to take over as prime minister in July. Ms. May has been forced out by her Tory caucus largely because she couldnt deliver on Brexit and get the country out of the European Union by the March 29, 2019, deadline. That deadline has now been extended to Oct. 31.
Mr. Trump has been critical of Ms. Mays Brexit strategy and in an interview last week, Mr. Trump praised former foreign secretary Boris Johnson and said he would be an excellent prime minister.
Donald Trump and the Queen toasted to their shared alliance on Monday during an elaborate state dinner at Buckingham Palace in honour of the U.S. president and his wife.
"Tonight we celebrate an alliance that has helped to ensure the safety and prosperity of both our peoples for decades, and which I believe will endure for many years to come," the Queen said, speaking in front of about 170 guests in London.
In an interview with The Sun, Trump weighed in on the American-born Duchess of Sussex. The former Meghan Markle, who gave birth to a son in May and will not attend the weeks events, has been critical of Trump, and when some of her comments were recited to him he told the tabloid, I didnt know that she was nasty.
She told Trump security and a shared heritage link the U.S. and U.K. On his first state visit to the U.K, the president acknowledged the common values he said will unite the two countries long into the future, including freedom, sovereignty and self-determination.
It was one of many moments marking the president's largely ceremonial visit to Britain, which also included tea with Prince Charles and a royal gun salute from Green Park and the Tower of London, one of the highest honours Britain can bestow on a foreign leader.
But the U.S. president arrived at a precarious moment. There is a fresh round of impeachment fervour back home and uncertainty on this side of the Atlantic. British Prime Minister Theresa May has undergone months of political turmoil over Britains planned exit from the European Union, and French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to use the 75th anniversary of the World War II battle that turned the tide on the Western Front to call for strengthening multinational ties the U.S. president has frayed.
The ceremony took place under clear blue skies on the spacious garden next to the 775-room palace that is the official residence of the Queen. Trump and Charles inspected the Guard of Honour formed by the Grenadier Guards wearing the traditional bearskin hats.
PreviousNextHide captionToggle Fullscreen1 of 0Trump and his wife paid their respects at the grave of an unknown British warrior, at Westminster Abbey. They were greeted inside the abbey by Prince Andrew and clergy.
They stood silently at the tomb of the British soldier, whose body was brought from France to be buried at the abbey in November 1920. The grave contains soil from France and is covered by a slab of black marble.
The president and his wife prayed and bent down to touch a colourful wreath, which had red and white roses, and bright blue and pink flowers.
Their trip, meant to strengthen ties between the two nations, was immediately at risk of being overshadowed by Brexit turmoil and a political feud with London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Even before Air Force One touched down north of London, Trump unleashed a Twitter tirade against Khan in the city, where Trump will stay for two nights while partaking in a state visit full of pomp and circumstance.
The move came after a newspaper column that reported Khan said Trump did not deserve red-carpet treatment in Britain and was "one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat" from the far-right to liberal democracy.
"[Sadiq Khan], 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," Trump tweeted just before landing. "He is a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me."
The president said Khan reminded him of the "terrible" mayor of his hometown, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, though "only half his height." De Blasio, a Democrat, is a longshot candidate in the 2020 presidential race. Khan supporters have previously accused Trump of being racist against London's first Muslim mayor.
The president then added a few warm words for his hosts, tweeting he was looking forward "to being a great friend to the United Kingdom, and am looking very much forward to my visit."
Soon-to-depart Prime Minister Theresa May is not scheduled to have a formal one-on-one private meeting with Trump.
May's office says the two leaders will meet Tuesday at 10 Downing Street, accompanied by senior officials, and will also tour the Churchill War Rooms, then-prime minister Winston Churchill's underground Second World War headquarters.
PreviousNextHide captionToggle Fullscreen1 of 0A year ago, Trump was an ungracious guest, blasting May in an interview just hours before Air Force One touched down in England. This time, he spared May but praised her rival, prime ministerial hopeful Boris Johnson, just before she steps down as Conservative leader Friday for failing to secure a Brexit deal.
The U.S. president arrived at a precarious moment, as he faces a fresh round of impeachment fervour back home and uncertainty on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to use the 75th anniversary of the Second World War battle that turned the tide on the Western Front to call for strengthening the multinational ties the U.S. president has frayed.
"My greatest hope is this: the president and all the leaders stay focused on the extraordinary heroism of that of D-Day and focusing on what brought allies to that position," said Heather Conley, senior vice-president of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. "Dark clouds are forming once again in Europe, and rather than encourage those forces, we need to find much better tools to defeat them."
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