According to a recent report by Vice News, Donald Trump is planning to visit London on July 13 of this year.
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There’s just one tiny problem – the Britons don’t want him, and they are not afraid to show it.
Thursday’s news of Trump’s impending invasion of the most populous city in England sparked calls for protest demonstrations from human rights groups, activists, and even some politicians.
Nearly 40,000 Londoners responded to Facebook event coordinating a protest, and over 112,000 have marked themselves as “interested.” Of course, any good Facebooker knows that one can never expect everyone to acknowledge an event on the platform, so more attendees are likely to fill in.
Amnesty International’s U.K. director Kate Allen said that when Trump sets foot in London, “we and thousands of our supporters will very definitely be making our voices heard.” Many believed the thin-skinned president would prefer to avoid the British capital so as to not face his protestors, but on Friday the White House confirmed that Trump will indeed pay the city a visit.
Trump turned down a visit to London earlier this year. He was supposed to open a new U.S. Embassy but “President Deals” decided the relocation was a bad deal and stayed in the United States.
Most people speculated that he was actually afraid to face potential protests, and his fears are not unfounded.
Last year, almost 2 million people signed a petition urging lawmakers to reject a formal invitation of Trump as they believed it would embarrass the Queen. Prior to the May 3 closing date of that petition, tens of thousands of Britons joined American protestors in solidarity to protest Trump’s (still not actually legal) Muslim ban.
London’s own Mayor Sadiq Khan gave a salty statement on the confirmation of Trump’s trip.
If he comes to London, President Trump will experience an open and diverse city that has always chosen unity over division and hope over fear. He will also no doubt see that Londoners hold their liberal values of freedom of speech very dear.
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) April 26, 2018
“If he comes to London, President Trump will experience an open and diverse city that has always chosen unity over division and hope over fear. He will also no doubt see that Londoners hold their liberal values of freedom of speech very dear.”
Trump and Khan have traded harsh words in the past, as Trump has frequently tried to demonize the Muslim community abroad after several terror attacks plagued Khan’s city. Khan, thankfully, remains a stalwart shield against Trump’s ignorance.
The president will head to London the day after a scheduled appearance at a NATO summit in Brussels, but his presence is no longer considered an official state visit but rather a “working visit.” Even so, he is still expected to meet with both the Queen and Prime Minister Theresa May.
Some of the radical British conservatives have implored Trump to ignore London completely and instead stop in Scotland. Trump’s own mother hails from the region and he owns a golf course in the country.
Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of conservative think tank Bow Group, voiced his concern about the impending protests and implored the president to skip the liberal stronghold.
“A visit to London by the president is likely to draw major protests, crime and disorder, and we do not wish to see Britain or President Trump embarrassed by this,” he said.
Harris-Quinney also tried to assure the president and his followers that “there are many in Britain who strongly support the president and the special relationship” and want him to experience a “warm welcome,” something he can’t expect in London.
United States Ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson (who apparently also owns the New York Jets) is optimistic that Trump can turn Khan and other British political critics to his side, since Brexit will ultimately require a new trade deal with the US.
“I think Mayor Khan… might realize [Trump] has the potential to bring so much to the table, particularly during Brexit and after Brexit, on the prosperity agenda and the military agenda, they might change their opinion,” Johnson said.
Of course, Trump will probably yield this result through coercion or extortion, not compromise.
Still, it will be nice to let someone else protest for a bit, and even better to know that sanity and reason still have allies abroad.