News ID: 217802
Published: 0709 GMT July 05, 2018

Trump to meet Queen Elizabeth despite chorus of discontent

Trump to meet Queen Elizabeth despite chorus of discontent

When Donald Trump meets Queen Elizabeth next week, he will become the 12th U.S. President that the monarch has met during her 66 years on the throne, the longest in British history.

Apart from Lyndon Johnson, Elizabeth has met every US leader since Harry S. Truman but no other U.S. presidential encounter has generated the same level of opposition and controversy in Britain as Trump’s trip, Reuters reported.

Prime Minister Theresa May offered Trump a state visit - a pomp-laden affair usually featuring an open-top carriage trip through central London and a banquet at Buckingham Palace - when she became the first foreign leader to visit him after his inauguration in January 2017.

Only two US presidents - Barack Obama and George W. Bush - have previously been invited for full state visits. Trump will get a less lavish one than originally offered, but he will still meet Elizabeth and many British lawmakers have voiced objection to his coming at all.

Trump’s travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries and his re-tweeting of a message posted by the deputy leader of the far-right Britain First party, who has since been jailed for religiously aggravated harassment, both led to widespread condemnation in the country.

Most recently, the separation of migrant children and parents at the US-Mexico border reignited calls for May to call off Trump’s visit.

After he was invited last year, more than 1.86 million people signed a petition saying Trump should not be given a state visit because it could embarrass the queen.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, a Muslim who has been involved in social media exchanges with the U.S. president, said Trump was not welcome in the British capital because of his divisive agenda and would face mass peaceful protests. Demonstrations are indeed planned for next week.

As a non-political head of state, Elizabeth has input but little say in who the government invites to Britain and who she meets or hosts at her royal residences.

Other lawmakers and commentators, who said the trip should go ahead, insist Britain’s “special relationship” with the United States goes beyond any individual and that the president should be accorded due respect.

Fellow lawmaker Edward Leigh said visits which might be controversial were made because they were believed to be in Britain’s self-interest. “When we invited not one but two Presidents of China, we were prepared to overlook the fact that China is effectively a police state,” he said.

Leigh noted Robert Mugabe had been invited to take tea with the queen. Describing the former Zimbabwean president as a “racist homophobe”, he said: “We were prepared to overlook his transgressions.”

   
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