Donald Trump’s controversial visit to the UK is on hold, according to the Guardian, which reports that the US president, leery of protests upon his arrival, spoke with Prime Minister Theresa May and told her “he didn’t want to proceed with a state visit to U.K. until he received more support for the trip.” Trump reportedly told May that he did not want to come if there were “large-scale protests and his remarks in effect put the visit on hold for some time.”
The call, which was leaked by a Downing Street adviser who was in the room, was made in recent weeks and according to the Guardian explains why there has been little public discussion about Trump’s visit. The Guardian also notes that Trump’s statement “surprised May.”
As a reminder, May invited Trump to Britain seven days after his inauguration when she became the first foreign leader to visit him in the White House. She told a joint press conference she had extended an invitation from the Queen to Trump and his wife Melania to make a state visit later in the year and was “delighted that the president has accepted that invitation”. While many UK diplomats, including former national security advisor Lord Ricketts, said the invitation was premature, it was impossible to rescind once made.
Trump’s visit prompted further controversy recently after the US president went personally after the mayor of London in tweets following an attack there earlier this month. Last week, London Mayor Sadiq Khan called for the British government to cancel a state visit from Trump. “I don’t think we should roll out the red carpet to the president of the USA in the circumstances where his policies go against everything we stand for,” Khan said in an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 News.
“When you have a special relationship it is no different from when you have got a close mate. You stand with them in times of adversity but you call them out when they are wrong. There are many things about which Donald Trump is wrong”, Khan added.
The acting US ambassador to the UK, Lewis Lukens, clashed with Trump last week by praising the London mayor, for his strong leadership over the London Bridge and Borough Market terror attack.
As the Guardian adds, the UK’s traditional effort to act as a bridge between the US and Europe has become more complex since the vote last year to leave the European Union and Trump’s support for policies that have angered Euroean allies. In light of the latest political turbulence in the UK following the disastrous, for the Tories, general election last week, it was unclear if Trump plans to cancel his trip to the UK altogether.