Donald Trump, the most controversial President of the United States, will make a state visit to the United Kingdom from Monday 3rd to Wednesday 5th of June, Buckingham Palace has announced.
The President and his wife, First Lady Melania Trump, will be guests of Her Majesty the Queen when they attend a ceremony in Portsmouth to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Official from France, Germany, Canada, Denmark, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Poland, Norway, Netherlands, Slovakia, Greece and the Czech Republic will also be in attendance.
With a rich naval history, Portsmouth was one of the key locations for many of the landing craft on D-Day, when Allied forces invaded Nazi-occupied France.
The June gathering will be held on Southsea Common and will involve live music performances, military displays and tributes to the Allied troops who fought and died in Normandy, including a display of Royal Navy vessels in the Solent and a flyover of RAF aircraft.
During his trip to the UK, Trump will be meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May at Downing Street. Talks will no doubt include a potential US-UK trade deal in the event that Brexit materialises. Whether or not that materialises this year is still under debate, although the betting odds suggest that 2019 will be the year of Brexit – https://www.betfair.com/exchange/plus/politics/market/1.130856098.
Mr Trump has of course previously met the Queen, last summer at Windsor Castle, when he was last in the UK on a working visit.
The White House said in a statement that the President’s upcoming trip would reaffirm the “steadfast and special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom”.
Trump was promised a state visit by UK Prime Minister Theresa May after he was elected in 2016 – but no date was set and the visit never materialised. The mess of Brexit might well have had something to do with that.
Theresa May said June’s state visit is an “Opportunity to strengthen our already close relationship in areas such as trade, investment, security and defence, and to discuss how we can build on these ties in the years ahead”.
But some others in parliament have concerns about Trumps visit, including the shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, who said “It beggars belief that on the very same day Donald Trump is threatening to veto a United Nations resolution against the use of rape as a weapon of war, Theresa May is pressing ahead with her plans to honour him with a state visit to the UK.”
During the President’s last visit to the UK the capital city was marked by demonstrations as thousands of people took to the streets to voice their concerns and protest against Trump.
Trump avoided London on his last visit and made it clear he did not want to visit the capital if he was going to face protests. However, a key part of a state visit is the traditional procession down the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace, and it is here where protesters are believers to be planning to gather.
The Queen has hosted two previous US Presidents on state visits – George W. Bush in November 2003, and Barack Obama in May 2011.
After leaving the UK, President Trump and wife Melania will then travel to France for a series of D-Day anniversary events on 6th June.