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Trump arrives in the UK

June 3, 2019

The US president has met with the British royal family, but exacerbated a feud with London's mayor after arriving in the UK. Donald Trump has been accused of "entirely unacceptable interference" for his Brexit comments.

Donald Trump surrounded by guards at Buckingham Palace
Image: Reuters/S. Dawson

US President Donald Trump is in the UK for a state visit that has been overshadowed by his recent controversial remarks on Brexit. Protests took place on Monday as Trump began his three-day trip, just as they did during his visit to Britain last year.

Trump and his wife, Melania, were treated to a military guard of honor at Buckingham Palace shortly after a 41-gun royal salute coming from neighboring Green Park.

Queen Elizabeth II then hosted a private lunch for the president and first lady, before showing them the royal art collection, while demonstrations continued outside the royal residence.

The president and first lady attended a banquet at the palace when Trump described the Queen as a "great, great woman," had tea with Prince Charles and visited the tomb of The Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey.

Trump, Queen Elizabeth, Melania Trump, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Trump, Queen Elizabeth, Melania Trump, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of CornwallImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo/A. Grant

Trump is due to hold private talks on Tuesday with Prime Minister Theresa May, who is stepping down on June 7 after failing to get support for her Brexit plan.

The prime minister's office said the president would be given a tour of the World War II Cabinet War Rooms museum, and that the two leaders together would host a roundtable discussion with US and UK businesses.

Several high-level opposition politicians announced their intention to skip the banquet in protest of Trump's antagonistic rhetoric. Recently, Trump suggested that Britain walk away from Brexit talks and refuse to pay the £39 billion (€45 billion, $50 billion) divorce fee May's government has negotiated with Brussels.

'Entirely unacceptable interference'

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn condemned Trump's comments as "entirely unacceptable interference in our democracy." Corbyn has also criticized the way the government has rolled out the red carpet for a man who "rips up vital international treaties, backs climate change denial and uses racist and misogynist rhetoric."

London Mayor Sadiq Khan called it "un-British" to "roll out the red carpet" for Trump, in an op-ed for The Observer, a Sunday newspaper. In a Twitter post, he wrote that Trump's "behavior flies in the face of ideals America was founded upon."

In the interview with The Sun ahead of his visit, Trump used the term "nasty" to refer to the American-born Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, when he found out that she had heavily criticized him before her marriage to Prince Harry. He later denied he had used the term on Twitter; the newspaper then posted the audio of the interview on its website.

On Monday, shortly before his arrival in the UK, Trump openly used the term on Twitter, accusing London's mayor of being "'nasty' to the visiting president of the United States." He went on to call Khan a "stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me."

Prime Minister May, however, was keen to put a positive spin on the visit, praising the long-standing alliance between the two countries.

 "Our relationship has underpinned our countries' security and prosperity for many years, and will continue to do so for generations to come," she said.

es, jsi/rt (AFP, Reuters)

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