Police officers and Guardsman from the Horse Guards move past U.S. and British flags as they stretch along The Mall towards Buckingham Palace in central London in advance of U.S. President Donald Trump State visit to Britain, London, Britain June 2, 2019. [Photo/VCG]
U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife Melania will make a state visit to the U.K. on June 3-5 at the invitation of the Queen. This coincides with celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings of World War II.
On his first night, the president will be the guest at a state banquet held at Buckingham Palace after meeting the Queen. However, due to security concerns, it has been reported that he might not enjoy the traditional carriage procession for a State guest down the Mall and the official welcome on Horse Guards Parade. Instead, a ceremony will take place in the Buckingham Palace garden.
An interesting sidelight is that, in a recent interview, President Trump called Meghan Markle, now the Duchess of Sussex as the wife of Prince Harry, "nasty" over criticism the American-born member of the royal family delivered in 2016.
At the time, she called Trump's presidential candidacy "divisive" and "misogynistic." Will the American President and the Duchess, recently recovered from delivering the latest Royal baby, appear together in Buckingham Palace?
Foreign leaders paying State visits to the U.K. usually address both Houses of Parliament. However, Commons Speaker John Bercow declared this would not take place in Trump's case.
More than 50 MPs of the opposition Labour Party had supported a motion demanding Prime Minister Theresa May cancel the entire presidential visit, accusing him of "misogyny, racism and xenophobia."
People will never forget that, during Trump's working visit to the U.K. last July, an estimated 250,000 people protested on the streets of central London. The most eye-catching feature was a six meter-high inflatable balloon called "Trump baby" over the Houses of Parliament.
This time, thousands of people have said that they will protest against his visit in London on June 4. "Together against Trump" was organized just one day after his visit was officially announced. Many people ask why Mrs May is attempting to normalize the behavior of a man who casually threatens war, tears up nuclear treaties, breaks the Paris Agreement on environmental protection, bans Muslim immigrants from entering the U.S., and makes trade wars with so many countries.
During his working visit last July, Trump told the British tabloid newspaper, The Sun, that Prime Minister May's "soft Brexit" plan would likely "kill" any U.K.-U.S. trade deal. He also suggested that former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, one of Conservative pro-Brexit candidates seeking to replace Mrs May, would make a great prime minister.
Before he embarked on his trip, he even referred to the Irish Republic as part of the U.K. Brendan Boyle, a Democratic Congressman in the U.S., pointed out to the President that "Ireland is not part of the U.K. It's been an independent country for about 100 years ... Please stop embarrassing us on the international stage."
The U.K. has been suffering from political deadlock over the Brexit deal to leave the European Union for months. On the second day of his visit, Trump is set to hold talks with Mrs May at 10 Downing Street. It is anybody's guess whether or not he will give her any "advice" on this issue. However, it is believed that he might try to butter up the U.K. for a post-Brexit trade deal with the U.S., which is seen as a likely scenario if the country does eventually leave the EU.
First of all, no matter whether there will finally be "no deal" or a "soft/hard deal" for Brexit, the U.K. will bear a heavy cost for trade diversion away from the EU's single market. Therefore, new trade creation, in the form of a trade deal with large economies such as the U.S. and China, will be urgently needed.
Secondly, the U.K. has long enjoyed a "special relationship" with the U.S. Mrs May referred to this when she said: "The U.K. and United States have a deep and enduring partnership that is rooted in our common history and shared interest. We do more together than any two nations in the world and we are both safer and more prosperous because of our cooperation."
What will be the impact of President Trump's trip on the U.S.-EU ties?
Despite the fact they remain each other's largest trade and investment partner, since Trump came to power, trans-Atlantic ties have been problematic. Apart from his disaffection over Europe's financial contribution to NATO, the U.S. President also introduced tariffs on the EU's exports of steel and aluminum in the name of protecting U.S. national security. And, he praised Brexit and even told Prime Minister May to "sue" the EU.
Will a state visit to the U.K. by such an American President improve his image and reputation in Europe? The answer is definitely negative. Will the balloon "Trump baby" appear in the sky again? The answer is certainly positive.
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