Trump greeted with pomp and protests in U.K.
President Trump promised to reward the U.K. with a generous post-Brexit trade deal during a pageantry-filled trip to Britain this week, as thousands of demonstrators marched in London to protest his state visit. His trip began with controversy: Days before flying out, the president called the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, “nasty” after discovering the American-born wife of Prince Harry had threatened to leave the U.S. in 2016 if Trump was elected. And shortly before landing in London, Trump took aim at the capital’s Mayor Sadiq Khan—who said it was “un-British” to roll out the red carpet for the “divisive” president—tweeting that Khan was a “stone cold loser.” But Trump received a warm welcome from Queen Elizabeth II, who greeted him with an honor guard at Buckingham Palace and hosted a lavish state banquet. The president also met with Prince Charles, who spent 75 minutes asking Trump to take action on climate change. Trump told the heir to the throne that the U.S. didn’t need to do anything, he later said, because it already has “the cleanest climates.”
At a press conference with outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump promised that he would deliver a “phenomenal trade deal” with Britain once it left the European Union. The visit ended with Trump attending ceremonies in the English city of Portsmouth with World War II veterans and fellow world leaders—including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel—to honor Allied forces who sailed from there 75 years ago on D-Day.
What the columnists said
Trump will surely go home disappointed, said Tom Sykes in The DailyBeast.com. A lifelong fan of the Windsors, the president apparently wanted a face-to-face with Princes William and Harry in front of the cameras so he could “harness the popularity of the young royals.” But Harry, angered by Trump’s “undiplomatic remarks” about his wife, skipped the banquet, and William didn’t join Trump on a tour of Westminster Abbey. The president must be fuming that he didn’t get their royal seal of approval.
This whole visit was a disaster, said Aaron Rupar in Vox.com. As well as insulting Markle and Khan, he outraged almost the entire nation by saying that Britain’s beloved National Health Service would be “on the table”—presumably ready to be carved up by “profit-driven U.S. companies”—during trade talks. He further embarrassed himself by tweeting that the protesters who thronged London, flying a giant blimp of a diaper-wearing baby Trump, had actually “gathered in support of the USA and me.”
The protests actually show Trump’s strength, said Eddie Scarry in the Washington Examiner. Some wag projected on to the Tower of London the stat that 21 percent of Britons have a positive opinion of Trump, compared with 72 percent for President Barack Obama. That is because Obama “kept Europe comfortable,” while Trump demands that our NATO allies pay more for defense and refused to undermine our economy by staying in the Paris climate change accord. It’s better to be right than popular.