May 31, 2019

Trump's state visit to the U.K. could get awkward

Flashback to a previous Trump visit to the U.K., during which he gave an explosive tabloid interview. Credit: Axios Visuals

President Trump's state visit to the U.K. will include lunch with the Queen, tea with Prince Charles and his final meetings with outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May.

What to expect: Protests in London and, if history is a guide, some awkward interventions into British politics.

  • Trump said today that he might meet with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage or Boris Johnson, the front-runner to succeed May as prime minister. A U.K. official who briefed reporters today said there were no such meetings on the official schedule, but "what he does in his down time is his affair."
  • Asked whether it would be appropriate for Trump to weigh in on Brexit or the Conservative leadership race, the official said that was Trump's business, adding: "I don't want to rule on appropriateness or otherwise."

The visit begins Monday. There will be a state dinner that evening and commemorations of the 75th anniversary of D-Day on Wednesday.

  • Trump is expected to meet Prince Harry but not Meghan Markle, who gave birth to the couple's first child earlier this month.

What not to expect: An address to Parliament.

  • John Bercow, speaker of the U.K. House of Commons, said in Washington this week that while there had been no formal request for such an address, "nothing has happened since" 2017 — when Bercow cited "racism and sexism" in opposing an invitation — to change his mind.
  • Bercow said Barack Obama, who did address Parliament, was "comparably popular" in Europe and the U.K., and a historic figure as America's first black president. He did acknowledge that it may have been a mistake to invite China's Xi Jinping in 2015.

Worth noting: A Times/YouGov poll out this evening shows the Liberal Democrats (!!) in first place in a potential general election, followed by the Brexit Party. Labour and the Conservatives are tied in third.

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