As President Trump kicked off his visit overseas with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace, he involved himself in high-level diplomacy and schoolyard jokes. Before meeting with the queen and touring Westminster Abbey, Trump went toe-to-toe with one of his biggest critics, London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Trump’s itinerary in London, which is a part of a jam-packed overseas agenda, includes a state dinner at the palace and D-Day commemoration ceremonies.
During their initial visit to the palace early Monday, the president and his wife had a private lunch with the Queen. Later on, Trump spent time inspecting a collection of artifacts, including an 18th-century map of New York, historic photos of golf at St. Andrews and books about birds and George Washington. President Trump then took part in laying a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey.
Of course, the visit began with the typical formalities of a state visit. Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, greeted the Trumps at the palace when they arrived. President Trump could also be seen speaking with members of the Guard of Honor while the rest of the American delegation observed the arrival ceremony from the terrace as “The Star-Spangled Banner” played in the background. The Royal gun salute could be heard being fired in the distance from Green Park and the Tower of London.
While his arrival was a lovely scene, the argument between Trump and Mayor Khan was center stage. In a column written by Khan, entitled “It’s un-British to roll out the red carpet for Donald Trump,” Khan called Trump a “global threat.” He also listed Trump’s most controversial policies and compared them to the actions of dictators from the past.
Before President Trump even landed in London, he fired back at Khan, calling him the “twin” of New York City’s liberal Mayor Bill de Blasio, “except shorter.” Trump continued his attack on Khan by calling him a “stone cold loser.” In response, Khan’s office said that the comment is “much more serious than childish insults which should be beneath the President of the United States. Sadiq is representing the progressive values of London and our country warning that Donald Trump is the most egregious example of a growing far-right threat around the globe, which is putting at risk the basic values that have defined our liberal democracies for more than 70 years.” Trump attempted to explain by saying that he wouldn’t let Khan dampen his trip. He also said that he looks forward to his visit.
Trump began his visit in London by venting about CNN in a tweet, saying: “Just arrived in the United Kingdom. The only problem is that @CNN is the primary source of news available from the U.S. After watching it for a short while, I turned it off. All negative & so much Fake News, very bad for U.S. Big ratings drop. Why doesn’t owner @ATT do something?”
Trump is planning on being in the U.K. until Wednesday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Trump’s visit comes at a chaotic time for British politics, especially considering that Minister Theresa May is stepping down from her position on Friday. Trump’s agenda for the week consists of mostly ceremonial activities. There will be a state visit and audience with Queen Elizabeth II in London, D-Day commemoration ceremonies on both sides of the English channel. Trump will also be making his first presidential visit to Ireland, which will include a visit at his coastal gold club.
The president arrived in London during an uncertain time in his life as he faces impeachment talks back home in the states. Theresa May has faced several months of political turmoil over Brexit and the French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to use the 75th anniversary of D-Day to strengthen the ties that Trump has damaged.
Just one year ago, Trump also blasted his English hosts before landing in their country. He even went so far as to bash May in an interview just a few hours before she hosted him for dinner. Even though he hasn’t said anything about May as of yet, he has praised her rival, Boris Johnson. Johnson, who is a prime ministerial hopeful, has been lifted up by Trump just days before May steps down from her position for failing to secure a deal with Brexit.
During an interview with The Sun, Trump said: “I think Boris would do a very good job. I think he would be excellent. I like him. I have always liked him. I don’t know that he is going to be chosen, but I think he is a very good guy, a very talented person.” It’s unclear as to whether or not Trump’s endorsement will hurt or help Johnson.
After President Trump has lunch with Queen Elizabeth II, Trump will be honored at a state dinner at Buckingham Palace. Demonstrators are expected to shot up, including the possible return of an inflatable balloon that looks like President Trump as a baby.