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Live Updates: Trump Arrives for U.K. State Visit

Mr. Trump arrived at Buckingham Palace by helicopter to meet with Queen Elizabeth for the second time. He was met with an 82 gun salute — 41 shots to honor Mr. Trump and 41 to mark the anniversary of the queen’s coronation, which happened yesterday. Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall walked out on the grounds of the palace where the helicopter landed, surrounded by the world’s media, to greet President Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, at the aircraft.

The queen then greeted the president on the west terrace of Buckingham Palace, before ushering him inside, where he will be hosted for lunch. The world’s longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth, 93, has met 12 American presidents, starting with President Harry S. Truman when she was a princess and heir to the throne. Last year, she sat for tea with Mr. Trump — who with the first lady, Melania Trump, appeared not to follow long-running protocol in which a bow or curtsy is customary.

One awkward moment, in particular, caught the eye of social media users: While they inspected her honor guard, the queen gestured to Mr. Trump and appeared to direct him forward. But he walked in front of her and then stopped, cutting off her path and forcing her to sidestep around him.

This year, Mr. Trump is scheduled to take tea with Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. Prince Harry is expected to join them for a private lunch with Mr. Trump, according to the BBC, and Prince William and his wife, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, will attend the state banquet on Monday evening.

The BBC also reported that Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex — who is on maternity leave after giving birth to the couple’s first child last month — would not be attending the dinner.

In The Sun interview, when the president was told that in 2016 the former actress, an American, threatened to move to Canada if he were elected president, Mr. Trump said, “I didn’t know she was nasty.” Still, he said he thought it was nice to have an American princess, adding, “I am sure she will do excellently.”

President Trump arrived at Stansted Airport, north of London, around 9 a.m., but even before setting foot in Britain, he had ignited controversy by sending a series of tweets attacking the mayor of London. Moments before his flight landed, Mr. Trump took aim at the mayor, Sadiq Khan, calling him a “stone cold loser” in a series of posts. He then went on to compare him to Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York

Mr. Trump has feuded with the mayor before. When large protests greeted the president in London during a visit last year, Mr. Khan allowed demonstrators to fly a giant orange balloon of Mr. Trump depicted as a baby in diapers. The blimp’s creator told news outlets on Sunday that the mayor had granted permission for the balloon to fly again during Mr. Trump’s visit.

Days before Mr. Trump’s visit, Mr. Khan wrote an article published online on Saturday by The Observer saying: “It’s too late to stop the red-carpet treatment, but it’s not too late for the prime minister to do the right thing. Theresa May should issue a powerful rejection — not of the U.S. as a country or the office of the presidency, but of Trump and the far-right agenda he embodies.”

While Mr. Trump’s visit is a high-profile engagement full of important meetings about diplomatic and trade issues, the morning of his first day in Britain was punctuated with various Twitter posts. He went from attacking Mr. Khan to commenting on the trade war with China, and then he tweeted criticism of CNN.

Mr. Trump will spend three days in Britain, first traveling to the American ambassador’s residence in London before heading on to Buckingham Palace to meet with Queen Elizabeth II. He will then attend a wreath-laying ceremony at Westminster Abbey, have tea with Prince Charles, and attend a state banquet at Buckingham Palace on Monday.

On Tuesday, he will meet with the departing prime minister, Theresa May, at her London residence and hold a joint news conference.

On Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump will travel to the southern city of Portsmouth for a D-Day commemoration. He will then fly to Ireland on Wednesday afternoon, where he will meet with that country’s prime minister, Leo Varadkar, and stay overnight at the Trump International golf course in Doonbeg.

After two years of delay, friction and awkwardness, Buckingham Palace announced a date for President Trump’s state visit this past April, after Prime Minister Theresa May conveyed the queen’s invitation to Mr. Trump. He arrived in London on Monday — days before Mrs. May is to step down as leader of the Conservative Party.

When Mr. Trump did make his first visit to London as president, in July 2018, it had been downgraded to a working trip, without the pageantry. Mr. Trump was received by Mrs. May, Queen Elizabeth II and protesters. He criticized the prime minister’s approach to Brexit and took a weekend detour to a golf course he owns in Scotland.

This time, Mr. Trump’s penchant for uncensored opinions is likely to capture more headlines, if history is any guide. The turbulence has already started. As he did last year, before arriving in Britain, Mr. Trump spoke to The Sun tabloid and The Sunday Times — Rupert Murdoch-owned newspapers — wading into the country’s political and social affairs and firing criticism at prominent officials.

Comments from Woody Johnson, the American ambassador to Britain, are likely to complicate matters. Speaking to the BBC over the weekend, Mr. Johnson said that all parts of the British economy would be “on the table” in discussions over trade, including the National Health Service and agriculture.

Supporters of Brexit have held up a trade deal with the United States as one of the prizes of a complete break with the European Union. The pact could be contentious, as some worry that it would force Britain to lower its food and agricultural standards to let in American products.

The possibility of chlorine-washed chickens from the United States has emerged as a symbol of British concerns about a post-Brexit trade deal, but Mr. Johnson indicated that the United States would insist on access. “You give the British people a choice,” he said. “If they like it, they can buy it. If they don’t want it, they don’t have to buy it.”

State visits serve as diplomatic bonanzas for the British government, and Mr. Trump is scheduled to have tea with Prince Charles, hold talks with Mrs. May and attend a banquet with the queen, among other events.

In April, Mrs. May called the visit “an opportunity to strengthen our already close relationship” on issues such as trade, investment and security.

Weeks later, Mrs. May said she would resign, after nearly three years of trying but failing to shepherd Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. The contest to succeed her will begin on Friday, after she steps down as leader of the Conservative Party.

With polls saying that more than half of Londoners are opposed to Mr. Trump’s state visit, tens of thousands are expected to demonstrate against the president in the British capital on Tuesday, the second day of his visit.

And the much-publicized Trump baby — a 20-foot orange balloon depicting the president snarling in a diaper and clutching a cellphone — is likely to return to the air after organizers surpassed their crowdfunding target of 30,000 pounds, about $ 38,000. The blimp also appeared during the president’s visit to Britain in July last year.

Protesters vowed to bring central London to a standstill during the rally on Tuesday, prompting the city’s police force to prepare what it called “a multifaceted security operation.” Smaller demonstrations were also expected in other cities across Britain.

But some were quick to point out that it was in Britain’s best interests to tolerate Mr. Trump as the leader of the United States, despite the opposition of many to his visit.

“Donald Trump is an embarrassment who lacks any kind of dignity and has interfered outrageously in our national affairs,” John Simpson, a prominent correspondent for the BBC tweeted on Monday. “BUT he is the (temporary) leader of our close friend and ally, and we owe it to the US to put up with him as best we can.”

John Bercow, the speaker of the House of Commons, has said that he would not allow Mr. Trump to address Parliament, as other leaders — including Presidents Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan, President Xi Jinping of China and former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa — have done.

In 2017, Mr. Bercow said Mr. Trump had “not earned” the honor of speaking to Parliament, and has so far resisted calls to let the president speak. Mr. Bercow has also declined an invitation to the banquet at Buckingham Palace on Monday night, a spokeswoman for his office said.

The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, also declined an invitation to the state dinner. Unlike Mr. Bercow, he elaborated on his decision in a statement in April.

“Theresa May should not be rolling out the red carpet for a state visit to honor a president who rips up vital international treaties, backs climate change denial and uses racist and misogynist rhetoric,” Mr. Corbyn said. “Maintaining an important relationship with the United States does not require the pomp and ceremony of a state visit.”

In The Sun interview, the president said he thought that the Labour leader was making a mistake. “I think he would want to get along with the United States” if he were to become Britain’s leader, Mr. Trump said.

Mrs. May’s rivals have already begun angling to succeed her, and the field is crowded.

The apparent front-runner is Boris Johnson, the former foreign minister and supporter of Brexit. Mr. Trump has voiced his support for Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc — calling himself Mr. Brexit — and last year, he both second-guessed Mrs. May’s handling of it and said that Mr. Johnson “would be a great prime minister.” In the recent interviews with the British news outlets, Mr. Trump again said that the former foreign minister would do a very good job, but added that his words did not amount to an endorsement.

“Well, I like him, I’ve always liked him,” Mr. Trump said. “I don’t know that he is going to be chosen, but I think he is a very good guy, a very talented person.” He added, “He has been very positive about me and our country.” (Mr. Johnson was born in the United States but renounced his American citizenship in 2017.)

He also criticized Britain’s negotiating strategy. “I think that the U.K. allowed the European Union to have all cards,” he said. “And it is very hard to play well when one side has all the advantage.”

It is unclear whether the praise will reap benefits for Mr. Johnson, given Mr. Trump’s unpopularity in Britain. Conservative lawmakers are expected to whittle the candidates to two. Then the finalists will compete for the votes of party activists.

While Mr. Trump has had a sometimes strained relationship with Mrs. May, especially over Brexit and the possibility of a trade deal, he has found a more closely aligned ally in Mr. Farage, whose nationalist and populist Brexit Party did well in last month’s European Parliament elections.

“Nigel Farage is a friend of mine, Boris is a friend of mine, they’re two very good guys, very interesting people,” Mr. Trump told reporters on Thursday.

Mark Landler, Benjamin Mueller, Megan Specia, Iliana Magra, Alan Yuhas and Palko Karasz contributed reporting.

Source: NYT > World

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