The US president is considering a brief stop in the UK ahead of his trip to France for Bastille Day, according to media reports. But any visit would be announced at the last minute, to minimize protests.
US President Donald Trump may make a brief stop in the UK on his way to the Bastille Day celebrations in France on July 14.
But if he does, the plan will likely be announced just one day ahead of time, according to a pair of British newspapers, the Sunday Times and The Scotsman.
The US president raised eyebrows last month when he made his first overseas visit to Saudi Arabia and then made multiple stops in Europe without visiting Britain.
Questions were raised anew about whether Trump was snubbing Britain when he agreed to visit France this month. After all, the leaders of the US and Britain have long touted the so-called "special relationship" between the two nations.
Both newspapers reported Trump was reluctant to visit Britain because he feared large-scale protests.
The Sunday Times, "citing a source close to the White House," reported "there is a window of opportunity for the president to visit Britain when he is in Europe later this month. It is likely to be hastily arranged and it is possible no official confirmation of his visit will be given until at least 24 hours before to stop any large-scale protests against his visit from being mobilized."
PM May on standby?
Trump was expected to make an unscheduled stop at a golf course in Scotland. He has interests in two: Trump Turnberry on the west coast near Ayr and Trump International Golf Links at Menie on the northeastern coast near Aberdeen.
"Theresa May's team are on standby for Trump to visit Downing Street as well," the Sunday Times reported.
Trump's rhetoric, his withdrawal of the US from the Paris Climate accord and his Twitter remarks about London's mayor in the aftermath of recent terror attacks have outraged many in Britain.
A Westminster source told The Scotsman that no requests for a visit had been made by White House officials but that they were 'aware it might happen,' adding: "We expect [Mr Trump] to go to his golf course. We are aware he might want to see the prime minister."
No state ceremonies
If Trump does pay a visit to 10 Downing Street, it will be an informal one, not an official state visit.
Trump did accept an invitation for a ceremonial state visit shortly after he became president in January but no date was set. Any stopover in Britain en route to France would be treated as largely informal.
Tim Farron, a member of the Liberal Democrats, told The Scotsman that Trump was "clearly terrified of the British public."
Farron added: "He knows that the British people find his politics appalling and that they won't be scared to make their views known. Theresa May should be embarrassed that she was so quick to offer Trump a state visit. Now neither of them want to be seen with the other. "