Donald Trump to make state visit to UK in June
Irish Government has no indication US president was considering visiting in June
US president Donald Trump: Almost 1.9 million Britons signed a petition in 2017 saying he should not be given a state visit. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
US president Donald Trump will make a state visit to the United Kingdom in June, Buckingham Palace announced on Tuesday, a trip that Britain hopes will cement transatlantic relations but one that immediately prompted criticism and promises of protests.
Mr Trump will be only the third US president to have been accorded the honour of a state visit by Queen Elizabeth during her 67-year reign. But the trip, from June 3rd-5th, is likely to be controversial given many Britons deeply dislike the president and reject his policies on issues such as immigration.
Almost 1.9 million Britons signed a petition in 2017 saying he should not be given a state visit – which will include a carriage trip through London and a banquet at Buckingham Palace. Protests involving tens of thousands of demonstrators overshadowed his non-state trip to Britain last July.
The Labour Party strongly criticised prime minister Theresa May for pressing ahead with the ceremonial visit, which she offered Mr Trump when she became the first foreign leader to visit him after his inauguration in January 2017.
“The UK and United States have a deep and enduring partnership that is rooted in our common history and shared interests,” Mrs May said in a statement. The state visit would be an opportunity to strengthen already close ties in areas such as trade, investment, security and defence, she said.
The White House said the trip would reaffirm “the steadfast and special relationship” between the allies.
Meanwhile the Irish Government said it had not had any indication he was considering a visit to Ireland in June. However it said there was a long-standing invitation for him to visit Ireland, and he has indicated that he hopes to do so at some stage this year.
During his trip last year, Mr Trump shocked Britain’s political establishment by giving a withering assessment of Mrs May’s Brexit strategy. He said she had failed to follow his advice such as suing the EU but later said Mrs May was doing a fantastic job.
“This is a president who has systematically assaulted all the shared values that unite our two countries,” Emily Thornberry, Labour’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, said in a statement after the visit was announced.
“Unless Theresa May is finally going to stand up to him and object to that behaviour, she has no business wasting taxpayers’ money on all the pomp, ceremony and policing costs that will come with this visit.”
Few details of the trip were given, but it will include a meeting with Mrs May in Downing Street and also a ceremony in Portsmouth to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy during the second World War. Mr Trump will be accompanied by his wife, Melania.
Mr Trump will also travel to France to meet French president Emmanuel Macron, the White House said.
The UK visit raises the prospect of a visit to Ireland at the same time given that in March, while visiting the United States for St Patrick’s Day, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said a US presidential visit to Ireland could happen as early as June.
He said that the US president was expected to travel to Europe for the D-Day anniversary in June and to Britain for the Nato summit in December.
“It’s possible that he’ll make the trip to Ireland before or after one of those but it’s still early days yet,” he said.
Mr Trump said , ahead of a bilateral meeting with Mr Varadkar in the Oval Office, that he would visit Ireland this year.
“I will be coming at some point this year. I missed it last year, and I would have loved to have been there.
“It’s a special place and I have a very warm spot for Doonbeg I will tell you that. It is just a great place,” he said. - Reuters/PA