Jul 13, 2018: Skimpy welcome mat for President Donald Trump in Britain?
UNITED KINGDOM - United States President Donald Trump visits London, leaving Prime Minister Theresa May with a dilemma. She risks offending him at a vulnerable time for Britain if she skimps on pomp, and she courts public outrage if she doesn’t.
Politicians and anti-Trump campaigners across Britain have served notice that they will be out in force when he arrives.
Two visiting American presidents have been accorded the full pageantry and banqueting of state visits – George W. Bush, in 2003; and Barack Obama, in 2011 – and May promised Trump the same. She can’t deliver it because of a Trump Tweet storm that appears to have offended Britons across the political spectrum. The New York Times notes that May has achieved the rare feat of uniting Britain – in outrage.
May’s middle ground is calling the sojourn a working visit, not a state visit, and arranging for Trump to meet Queen Elizabeth II. The visit appears to be the one concession to pomp. The remainder of the visit might be confined to bilateral talks at 10 Downing Street, with a focus on the trade deal Britain needs with the United States once it has left the European Union.
Trump canceled a working visit in January to cut the ribbon for the relocated U.S. embassy. Critics say it was concern over protests.
The visit takes place immediately after a NATO summit in Brussels.