Trump set to visit to Britain this year

Published January 26, 2018, 8:31 AM

by AJ Siytangco

By Agence France-Presse

US President Donald Trump agreed with Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday that he would make his long-planned trip to Britain later this year, her office said.

The two leaders, who met at the World Economic Forum in Davos, asked officials “to work together on finalizing the details of a visit by the president to the UK later this year”, a Downing Street spokesman said.

US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister discussed an array of issues at their talks in Davos. (AFP / Nicholas Kamm / MANILA BULLETIN)
US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister discussed an array of issues at their talks in Davos. (AFP / Nicholas Kamm / MANILA BULLETIN)

May proposed that Trump make a state visit to Britain a year ago, but there was speculation it would be cancelled because of strong public and political opposition to the president in Britain.

A senior British government source was unable to say whether Trump would receive the prestigious welcome initially offered, or whether his appearance would be scaled down to a working visit.

A state visit includes full British pomp: staying with Queen Elizabeth II, a ceremonial welcome, set-piece speeches and lavish banquets.

The visit was likely in the “second half” of the year, the source said, but stressed that the leaders had not discussed venues or details.

In its readout of the meeting, the White House said the pair discussed plans for “a working visit to London in the coming months”.

It added that they “affirmed the ‘special relationship’ between the two countries is stronger than ever.”

Trump had been expected to travel to London earlier this month for the grand opening of a new, state-of-the-art US embassy here.

But he cancelled the trip, voicing displeasure at the cost and the location of the new building.

His move followed a Twitter spat between May and Trump over his retweeting of British far-right propaganda as well as warnings of mass protests.

The source said Trump’s retweets were not discussed at their 40-minute meeting in the Swiss ski resort.

Instead, they discussed Iran, Syria, Brexit, future trade ties and jobs in Northern Ireland.

More formal atmosphere

May was the first foreign leader to visit Trump at the White House following his inauguration in January 2017, where they were pictured holding hands.

The atmosphere was more formal on Thursday, the source said, although the president greeted May at the entrance to the meeting room, and they ended by shaking hands.

Following May’s invitation last year, nearly 1.9 million people signed a petition opposing a Trump state visit, claiming it would embarrass the monarch.

Jo Swinson, deputy leader of Britain’s Liberal Democrats, the fourth-biggest party in parliament, said: “Trump is a dangerous, misogynistic racist and is deserving of the protests he will undoubtedly face.”