Trump state visit: what to expect

Buckingham Palace announces June trip dates as protesters promise large demonstrations

Donald Trump
(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Theresa May’s decision to step down as Tory leader on 7 June means that one of her last tasks as Prime Minister will be hosting US President Donald Trump on his state visit.

The trip, by invitation of the Queen, could be seen as a step up from his previous visit to the UK, in July last year. Then he was offered only a so-called “working visit” and was mostly kept away from London over fears of mass protests.

Trump appears to be taking full advantage of Her Majesty’s hospitality this time around. Reports suggest he will bring a large entourage including his wife Melania, his four adult children and their spouses.

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After saying last year that he had been made to feel “unwelcome” by Londoners and backhandedly claiming he “used to love London as a city”, how will Trump fare on his second visit as president?

When is the trip?

Trump will touch down in the UK on 3 June.

He will be accompanied by Melania, his eldest daughter Ivanka, 37, and her husband Jared Kushner, 38, while Don Jr, 41, Tiffany, 25, Eric, 35, and his wife Lara, 36, will also be present, The Times reports.

The paper adds that Don Jr “divorced last year and may be accompanied by his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, 50, a former Fox News presenter”.

This is the third state visit by an American president, but on neither of the previous two occasions - which saw George W Bush and Barack Obama come to London – did the president bring their children.

The family will leave on 5 June, spending just over 48 hours in the UK. Trump then heads to Ireland.

What is on the agenda?

After landing in the UK, he is expected to have tea with members of the royal family. This usually occurs at Clarence House and is most frequently hosted by Prince Charles.

Later the same day there will be a state banquet, which is “often seen as the highlight of such trips,” Sky News says.

This extremely lavish dinner will take place at either Buckingham Palace's ballroom or St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle and is hosted by the Queen, whom Trump has previously described as a “tremendous woman”.

Sky News adds that although the guest list for the banquet has not yet been confirmed, “it will involve around 150 guests with cultural, diplomatic or economic links to the US”.

It is understood that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be present, but the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not attend, The Daily Telegraph says.

On the final day of his visit, Trump will meet outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May at Downing Street, before heading to Portsmouth to attend a national commemorative event marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

What is perhaps more interesting, however, is what Trump will not be doing while in the UK.

The Times reports that the president “will not have the carriage procession down The Mall he yearned for” owing to security concerns expressed by US authorities, and he will instead be welcomed by the Queen in the garden of Buckingham Palace.

Furthermore, state visits often include the head of state addressing both Houses of Parliament, but Commons Speaker John Bercow said in 2017 that he would block any moves for the president to address Parliament because of MPs’ “opposition to racism and to sexism”. In April this year, it was confirmed that Trump will not make a speech to Parliament.

He will also not be staying at Buckingham Palace, which is undergoing refurbishment. Instead he will be put up at the US ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park, where he also stayed on his visit last year.

Will there be protests?

Many in the UK remain extremely unhappy with the Trump administration’s record on human rights, women’s rights and immigration, as well as his outspoken views on foreign politicians, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

And the protests are being led by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable and Bercow, all of whom have said that they will boycott events involving the president, Sky News says.

Confirmation of the trip was also condemned at the time by shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, who said the president had “systematically assaulted all the shared values that unite our two countries”.

On a public level, protests are expected, but the exact scale and locations of the demonstrations are not currently known.

Last year, during Trump’s working visit, hundreds of thousands of Britons took to the streets to voice their disapproval of the president, Reuters reports, and much media attention was given to the so-called “Trump Baby” - a giant balloon depicting the president as a nappy-wearing infant. The blimp is rumoured to be making a reappearance next month.

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