Trump begins visit reigniting feud with London mayor – CTV News

Trump begins visit reigniting feud with London mayor - CTV News
Trump toasts to alliance with U.K., insults London mayor as visit to Britain begins
LONDON — Mixing pageantry and pugilism, U.S. President Donald Trump plunged into his long-delayed state visit to Britain on Monday, welcomed with smiles and a cannon salute by the royals but launching political insults at others in a time of turmoil for both nations in the deep, if recently strained, alliance.

It was a whirlwind of pomp, circumstance and protest for Trump, who had lunch with Queen Elizabeth and tea with Prince Charles before a grand state dinner at Buckingham Palace.

Trump begins state visit to Britain with Twitter tirade against London Mayor Khan

The queen used her toast to emphasize the importance of international institutions created by Britain, the United States and other allies after World War II, a subtle rebuttal to Trump, a critic of NATO and the UN.

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But most of the talk and the colorful images were just what the White House wanted to showcase Trump as a statesman while, back home, the race to succeed him — and talk of impeaching him — heated up. Yet Trump, forever a counter-puncher, immediately roiled diplomatic docility by tearing into London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Later this week come 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. For most presidents, it would be a time to revel in the grandeur, building relations with heads of state and collecting photo-ops for campaign ads and presidential libraries.

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.

With the trip already at risk of being overshadowed by Britains Brexit turmoil, Trump unleashed a Twitter tirade after a newspaper column in which Londons mayor said he did not deserve red-carpet treatment and was "one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat" to liberal democracy from the far right.

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.

"@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," Trump wrote just before landing. "He is a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me."

During the palace welcome ceremony, Trump and Prince Charles inspected the Guard of Honor formed by the Grenadier Guards wearing their traditional bearskin hats. Royal gun salutes were fired from nearby Green Park and from the Tower of London as part of the pageantry accompanying an official state visit, one of the highest honours Britain can bestow on a foreign leader.

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.

Video: Live: Donald Trump attends state banquet at Buckingham Palace | ITV News

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 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.

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A year ago, he also had taken aim at his hosts before landing on English soil, blasting May in an interview hours before she hosted him for dinner. This time he has so far spared May, whom he will meet with on Tuesday, but he also has praised her rival, Boris Johnson, just days before May steps down as Conservative leader on Friday for failing to secure a Brexit deal.

When asked if he was sorry to miss out on meeting American-born Markle and told that she “wasnt so nice” about him during his campaign, Trump said: I didnt know that. No, I hope shes OK. I did not know that. (The Duchess of Sussex is not meeting Trump as she is on maternity leave from royal duties.)

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"I think Boris would do a very good job. I think he would be excellent," Trump told The Sun. "I like him. I have always liked him. I dont know that he is going to be chosen, but I think he is a very good guy, a very talented person."

[email protected], 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……

It was not clear if that endorsement would help or hurt Johnsons chances of becoming prime minister. Trump said he may meet with Johnson this week.

….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!

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.

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.

The president and first lady landed on the grounds of Buckingham Palace by aircraft where they were greeted by Prince Charles and his wife Camilla. The couple received a royal gun salute as they walked to the palace, where Queen Elizabeth met them and took them inside.

As Trump crossed London, he was shadowed — at a distance — by demonstrators, who planned to fly again a huge balloon depicting the president as a baby. He declared there was "great love all around" but the Fake News would try to find protests.

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As often happens when Trump travels overseas, norms were shattered, including when the president complained about his television viewing options in the foreign capital and urged people to punish CNN by boycotting its parent company, AT&T.

It is unclear how Trump will interact with May as, a year ago, he blasted the British prime minister in an interview hours before she hosted him for dinner. Though he has spared May so far this time, he has praised her rival, prime ministerial hopeful Boris Johnson.

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."

He said later he thought Markle would be "very good" as a royal and claimed he only meant her comments were "nasty."

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Trump will make his first presidential visit to Ireland on Wednesday, spending two nights at his golf club in Doonbeg, which sits above the Atlantic. After Dublin balked at holding a meeting in the city, a deal was struck for Trump to meet Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at the VIP lounge at Shannon Airport, hardly the grand setting usually afforded a meeting of world leaders.

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.

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 day is normally a heartfelt tribute to unity and sacrifice, outweighing any national or political skirmish. But some on both sides of the Atlantic are nervous about Trump, who has shown a willingness to inject partisanship into such moments.

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.

AP writers Gregory Katz in London and Darlene Superville and Deb Riechmann in Washington contributed.

Trump will make his first presidential visit to Ireland on Wednesday, spending two nights at his golf club in Doonbeg, which sits above the Atlantic. After Dublin balked at holding a meeting in the city, a deal was struck for Trump to meet Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at the VIP lounge at Shannon Airport, hardly the grand setting usually afforded a meeting of world leaders.

….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!

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.

A year ago, he also had taken aim at his hosts before landing on English soil, blasting May in an interview hours before she hosted him for dinner. This time he has so far spared May, whom he will meet with on Tuesday, but he also has praised her rival, Boris Johnson, just days before May steps down as Conservative leader on Friday for failing to secure a Brexit deal.

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"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.

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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.

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.

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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.

He has enormous reverence for the monarchy and the Queen,” royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith explained on CNN. “The Queen is a thorough professional. She has known 12 of 13 presidents. She knows how to handle any situation.” (Reportedly after former prime minister Margaret Thatcher and the Queen wore similarly coloured outfits to an event, she had her staff call the palace to create a process to avoid such clashes. The Queen never notices what others are wearing, was the legendary public response.)

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 Queen is different. As he greeted Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace, he suddenly realized that the 93-year-old was proffering her fingers for her traditional limp shake (shes shaken a lot of hands and knows exactly how to protect her fingers). So he quickly adapted his handshake as he took hold of the Queens fingertips, leaving the top of his hand well above hers. The result looked like an oddly regal fist bump. Trump appeared nervous and subdued while the Queen was smiling, oblivious to any perceived faux pas.

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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.

Yet he and officials in the White House left the itinerary almost exclusively in the hands of surprised Buckingham Palace officials, Washington journalists reported. Its as though no one wanted to upset the Queen. So, while he and Melania got pride of place at the ceremonial opening, his family and entourage were relegated to a firmly secondary position on the narrow balcony above the garden entrance.

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.

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"[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.

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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.

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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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