US president Donald Trump meets the Queen on UK state visit | World Defense

US president Donald Trump meets the Queen on UK state visit

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US president Donald Trump meets the Queen on UK state visit
AFP
June 03, 2019

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US President Donald Trump, right, and US First Lady Melania Trump, center, are greeted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, second right after being met by Britain’s Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, left, and Britain’s Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, second left, during a welcome ceremony at Buckingham Palace on June 3, 2019. (AFP)


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Britain’s Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, right, greets US President Donald Trump as he steps off Marine One to attend a welcome ceremony at Buckingham Palace in central London. (AFP)


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Donald Trump posted a tweet that described London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan (L) as a loser before he met with the Queen (File/Odd Andersen, Tolga Akmen/AFP)

  • Trump tweeted his disapproval of London's Mayor before meeting the Queen
  • His visit is likely to be met with protests across the country
LONDON: President Donald Trump met with Queen Elizabeth II Monday during two-day visit to Britain that’s meant to strengthen ties between the two nations, although the trip was immediately at risk of being overshadowed by Brexit turmoil and a political feud with London’s mayor.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump flew to Buckingham Palace in Marine One, landing on a lawn where they were greeted by Prince Charles and his wife Camilla. They received a royal gun salute as they walked to the palace where the queen greeted the president with a smile.



Even before Air Force One touched down north of London, Trump unleashed a Twitter tirade against London Mayor Sadiq Khan, leader of the world 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 in which 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.

“@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.

The president added that Kahn reminded of the “terrible” mayor of his hometown, New York City Mayor Bill de Blaiso though “only half his height.” De Blaiso, 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 that he was looking forward “to being a great friend to the United Kingdom, and am looking very much forward to my visit.”

.@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. He is a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me......
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2019

But beneath the pomp and ceremony, Britain is in turmoil with Prime Minister Theresa May due to step down within weeks over her handling of her country’s exit from the European Union.

Trump weighed in on the divisive issue of Brexit, declaring before he arrived that Britain’s former foreign minister Boris Johnson would make an “excellent” choice to succeed May.

In a round of British newspaper interviews, he also recommended her successor walk away from talks with Brussels, refuse to pay Britain’s agreed divorce bill and leave the EU with no deal.

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US President Donald Trump saluted the honor guard as he walked on the tarmac after disembarking Air Force One at Stansted Airport, north of London. (Isabel Infantes/AFP)

The UK-US “special relationship” was already under strain over different approaches to Iran, the use of Chinese technology in 5G networks, climate change, and Trump’s personal politics.

Labour’s Khan has led opposition to the three-day visit, writing a newspaper article on Sunday in which he compared the US leader to European dictators from the 1930s and 1940s.

“Donald Trump is just one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat,” Khan wrote.

His spokesman called Trump’s tweets “childish” and “beneath the president of the United States.”

Huge protests are being organized in London, with organizers crowdfunding a bright orange “baby Trump” blimp depicting the US leader in a diaper — aiming for an even larger version than the one flown during his visit last year.

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Banners created by UK based human rights organization Amnesty International and unfurled over Vauxhall Bridge in central London on June 3, 2019 to coincide with the UK State Visit of US President Donald Trump. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP)

The leaders of Britain’s main opposition parties and the speaker of parliament are boycotting the state banquet on Monday night.

In an effort to brush past the controversy, May and Trump are expected to emphasize the wider benefits of their old alliance when they hold talks at Downing Street on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, they will join other world leaders in the English port of Portsmouth to commemorate 75 years since the D-Day landings, which changed the course of World War II.

“Our relationship has underpinned our countries’ security and prosperity for many years, and will continue to do so for generations to come,” May said ahead of the visit.

May announced her resignation last month after failing to get her Brexit deal through parliament and twice delaying Britain’s EU departure.

She will formally quit as her Conservative party’s leader on Friday, but will stay on as caretaker prime minister while her successor is chosen.

Three years after the referendum vote for Brexit, Britain remains divided.

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Trump was welcomed to Britain by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. (AFP)

Trump recommended the new government make a clean break with the EU if necessary, adding that there was “tremendous potential” for Britain to trade with his country after Brexit.

Causing more potential embarrassment for May, Trump said he might also meet with Johnson and pro-Brexit leader Nigel Farage during his UK visit.

“They want to meet. We’ll see what happens,” he told reporters before he left the United States.

May was the first foreign leader welcomed to the White House after Trump’s election victory in November 2016, but their relationship has not always been rosy.

They have clashed over Trump’s migration policies, while Britain still backs the Iranian nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord, both of which Trump has abandoned.

Washington has also been putting pressure on Britain to exclude Chinese tech giant Huawei from its 5G network over security concerns, suggesting it might harm intelligence-sharing.

Trump’s first official visit to Britain last year was overshadowed by criticism of May’s approach to Brexit, as well as large demonstrations.

He is not expected to meet Prince Harry and his American wife Meghan Markle, after saying her previous criticism of him was “nasty.”

 

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U.S. President Trump speaks to UK PM candidate Johnson
June 4, 2019 /
Steve Holland, Guy Faulconbridge

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump waded into Britain’s political crisis on Tuesday by telephoning Boris Johnson, the Brexit-supporting favorite to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May.

Feted by Queen Elizabeth on the first day of his state visit to Britain, Trump turned to politics on Tuesday, offering to meet Johnson, a former foreign minister who has said the United Kingdom should leave the EU on Oct. 31, deal or no deal.

Even before Air Force One landed on British soil, Trump praised the main leaders of Brexit - Johnson and Nigel Farage - and his advisers called on Britain’s next leader to block Huawei from the next generation mobile phone technology.

Trump on Tuesday called Johnson and offered a one-to-one meeting but Johnson declined the invitation as he had to focus on meeting Conservative Party lawmakers who will vote on who they want to be the next prime minister, a source said.

The president understood the situation and said he looked forward to catching up at a later date, the source said. Their call lasted for around 20 minutes, the source said.

Trump earlier promised Britain a substantial post-Brexit trade deal, joking to May that she should stick around to clinch it though she is due to step down in two days’ time.

“We’ll have a very, very substantial trade deal, it’ll be a very fair deal, and I think it’s something we both want to do,” Trump told May at a meeting in St James’s Palace, a 500-year-old official residence of the monarch.

The state visit, promised by May back in January 2017 when she became the first foreign leader to meet him after he took office, is cast as a chance to celebrate Britain’s “special relationship” with the United States, boost trade links and reaffirm security cooperation.

But the collapse of May’s premiership over Brexit and Trump’s penchant for ignoring the conventions of modern diplomacy have made the trip one of the most unconventional state visits in recent British history.

Ahead of the visit, Trump praised Johnson, saying he would make a “very good” prime minister, and advised a sharp exit from the European Union on Oct. 31 with or without a deal.

Trump also called for arch-Brexiteer Farage, a scourge of May’s ruling Conservative Party, to conduct talks with the EU.

BREXIT, BLIMP AND CHINA
Brexit is the most significant geopolitical move for the United Kingdom since World War Two and if it happens, London will be more reliant on the United States as ties loosen with the other 27 members of the EU.

Huawei will top talks in London after the British government appeared to defy Trump administration demands and allow the Chinese company a limited role in building 5G networks.

“We’ve been clear: Our ask is that our allies and our partners and our friends don’t do anything that would endanger our shared security interests or restrict our ability to share sensitive information,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

The Trump administration has told allies not to use Huawei’s 5G technology and equipment because it fears that would allow China to spy on sensitive communications and data. Huawei denies it is, or could be, a vehicle for Chinese intelligence.

Notwithstanding Britain’s enduring alliance with the United States, some British voters see Trump as crude, volatile and opposed to their values on issues ranging from global warming to his treatment of women.

A giant inflatable blimp depicting Trump as a pouting baby in a diaper was raised outside the British parliament in London on Tuesday ahead of what is expected to be one of the city’s largest protests against a foreign leader.

“We’re trying to remind the president how unwelcome he is in this country,” said Leo Murray, the co-creator of the blimp. “Donald Trump is childish, trivial, insulting. He embodies all of these things. This is an incredibly apt way to welcome him.”

Thousands of people protested in central London against Trump, but numbers were far down from the tens of thousands who gathered to oppose his visit last year.

Protesters waved witty and sometimes rude placards at a what organizers called a “Carnival of Resistance” in Trafalgar Square while Prime Minister Theresa May was in talks with the president a short distance away in Downing Street.

There was a festival atmosphere at the rally, which will be addressed later by Jeremy Corbyn, the socialist leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party. Trump supporters said Corbyn’s participation was an insult from the leader of Britain’s main opposition party.

Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Additional reporting by Elizabeth Piper, Andrew MacAskill, William James, Costas Pitas, Kate Holton, Kylie MacLellan and Michael Holden; Editing by Peter Cooney and Jon Boyle

 
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