President Donald Trump kicked off his first state visit to the UK on Monday, a trip likely to put the country’s relationship with the U.S. to the test as a number of differences on key issues remain unresolved.
Trump and First Lady Melania will attend a private lunch and banquet dinner at Buckingham Palace with Queen Elizabeth II, tea with Prince Charles and a visit to Westminster Abbey, followed by a lunch with the British Prime Minister Theresa May at her private residence on Tuesday.
However, relations between the two countries are frail as disagreements remain on issues such as the U.S.’ ban on Huawei and its latest moves concerning Iran. CNBC writes that President Trump’s “impulsive” leadership style could threaten to shake his country’s “special relationship” with the UK even further.
“I would say the special relationship is certainly on shaky ground,” said Cailin Birch, global economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit, adding that Trump’s “America First” approach could affect relations with the U.S.’ western allies.
The United States has traditionally shared a close bond with the UK over a range of issues and the two countries have for decades had strong cooperation in a number of areas. But with Trump dramatically changing the accepted rules of diplomacy, this “special relationship” has been brought into question.
Meanwhile, protest groups in London are preparing to stage demonstrations on the second day of Trump’s visit to express their disagreement with a range of his policies.
The city’s mayor Sadiq Khan, a long-time vocal critic of the President, has likewise voiced his unflattering opinion of Trump, calling him “one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat.”
Khan said in a newspaper article Sunday that Trump should not be welcomed in the country with a red carpet because it would be “un-British” to do so for a President who has sown discord and who defies “the ideals America was founded upon — equality, liberty and religious freedom.”
“In years to come, I suspect this state visit will be one we look back on with profound regret and acknowledge that we were on the wrong side of history,” the London mayor noted, once again comparing Trump to a fascist leader.