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Trump lands in UK in a flurry of controversy

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump depart for travel to Britain from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. June 2, 2019.
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump depart for travel to Britain from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. June 2, 2019. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

US President Donald Trump has landed in the UK for a three-day state visit amid protests across the country and controversy he stirred by weighing into the Brexit debate. D-Day commemorations and a state banquet at Buckingham Palace are among the activities on the menu.


Air Force One landed at London Stansted Airport at 8am GMT where President Trump was met by UK's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and US Ambassador to the UK, Woody Johnson.

On Monday evening, Trump will be accompanied by the First Lady Melania for a state banquet in his honour at Buckingham Palace. But several politicians are boycotting the event, including the leaders of the Liberal Democrats (Sir Vince Cable) and Labour party (Jeremy Corbin) as well as London mayor, Sadiq Khan.

Before landing in the UK, President Trump tweeted that Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, is "a stone cold loser" who "has been foolishly 'nasty' to the visiting President of the United States, by far the most important ally of the United Kingdom."

A spokesman for Mr Khan said "childish insults" should be beneath the US President. He qualified Donald Trump as "the most egregious example of a growing far-right threat around the globe."

Protests are planned across the United Kingdom. Thousands of people marched through London in July last year to demonstrate against the visit of the US President to the UK. This year campaigners claim they will mobilise in "huge numbers" in a "diverse Carnival of Resistance [to] reject Trump’s divisive politics and policies of bigotry, hate and greed."

Trump on Brexit

In an interview to The Sun tabloid, ahead of his visit, President Trump said that Boris Johnson "would do a very good job" as the head of the Conservative Party.

"I think he would be excellent," Trump added. “I like him. I have always liked him. I think he is a very talented person. He has been very positive about me and our country.”

Before leaving the US, Trump said he might meet Brexit party leader, Nigel Farage. In an interview to the Sunday Times, the US President called on Britain to send Farage to lead the Brexit negotiations.

He also said that the UK should pursue a no-deal Brexit if the EU refuses to give Britain what it wants. Trump said that the UK should walk away from Brexit talks and refuse to pay its 44 billion euros (39b punds) EU divorce bill.

Dismissing Europe

Trump also indicated that his administration is likely to work swiftly on trade deals with the UK.

"I'd go all out," Trymp told the Sunday Times. "“It would be a great advantage for UK. One of the advantages of Brexit is the fact that you can deal with the number one country by far, we’re the number one by far in terms of every metric in terms of an economy.”

Gilles Legendre, the President of the ruling La Republique en Marche party at the National Assembly in France, told RFI that it is a well-known fact that the views on Donald Trump on Europe are different that of France.

"There is a systematic effort from the US to slow down any progress gained in Europe. And we have the proof during his [Trump's] visit to UK as he intends to back the main opponent to Europe, a staunch Brexit supporter," Legendre said on RFI.

He added that even if Trump is not France's ally, the United States is and will remain so well after Trump's leaves office.

"I don't know if we can get on but we must try to talk to each other," Legendre declared.

On Tuesday morning, President Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May will host a business breakfast at St James's Palace.

President Trump will then visit Downing Street for further talks with Mrs May, followed by a joint press conference.

On Wednesday, to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, President Trump will visit Portsmouth, England, where the invasion was . And then move to Normandy in France where Allied Forces began recapturing western Europe from the Nazis.

Later on Wednesday, Trump will fly to Ireland for his first presidential visit. He will meet Prime minister Leo Varadkar at Shannon airport.

The US President will be staying at his golf club in Doonberg.



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