US president to pay state visit to UK in June
LONDON (AA): U.S. President Donald Trump will pay a state visit to the U.K. in the first week of June, a statement from the Buckingham Palace said Tuesday.
“The President of The United States of America, President Donald J. Trump, accompanied by Mrs Melania Trump, has accepted an invitation from Her Majesty The Queen to pay a State Visit to the UK,” the official Twitter account of the Royal Family said.
The visit was later confirmed by the Downing Street in a statement.
“The President and First Lady will make a State Visit to the UK on 3-5 June, as announced by Buckingham Palace this afternoon,” British government said.
“President Trump will be a guest of Her Majesty The Queen during the visit, and will also have discussions with the Prime Minister in Downing Street,” it added.
Prime Minister Theresa May said “the UK and United States have a deep and enduring partnership that is rooted in our common history and shared interests.”
“We do more together than any two nations in the world and we are both safer and more prosperous because of our cooperation,” she said.
“The State Visit is an opportunity to strengthen our already close relationship in areas such as trade, investment, security and defense, and to discuss how we can build on these ties in the years ahead,” May added.
The invitation for a state visit by May was extended to Trump during her visit to the U.S. on Jan. 27, 2017, sparking criticism in the U.K. due to the new president’s controversial travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries.
Trump, who visited the U.K. on a working visit in July 2018, saw the protest from thousands of British people in London and in various major cities including Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Belfast.
A petition calling on the British government to cancel the invitation was signed by over 1.85 million people. It said any official state visit should be axed “because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty, the Queen”.
It also said Trump’s “well documented misogyny and vulgarity” disqualified him from meeting the Queen or other British royals.
The government responded to the parliamentary petition, saying it believed the American leader should “be extended the full courtesy” of an official reception.
Trump’s visit to the U.K. came under further scrutiny when he re-tweeted anti-Muslim videos originally posted by a fringe far-right group Britain First, an action Theresa May labelled “wrong”.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan had commented at the time saying he was “not welcome” to visit the U.K. saying “President Trump … used Twitter to promote a vile, extremist group that exists solely to sow division and hatred in our country”.
Parliament Speaker John Bercow had said in 2017 at a parliament session that the relationship with the U.S. is valued and the decision of a state visit by a president is beyond the parliament speaker’s authority.
“However, as far as this place [House of Commons] is concerned, I feel very strongly that our opposition to racism, and to sexism and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are important considerations in the House of Commons,” he had said.