There was some consternation in Great Britain when Prime Minister Theresa May issued an invitation for an official State Visit to newly elected President, Donald Trump, during her first visit with him back at the beginning of the year. Well, technically the invitation officially comes from the Queen, but she always invites whomever her government wishes. But this invitation was unusual from the get-go as state visits generally do not occur until much later in a president’s term of office – some not until their second term. May appears to have jumped the gun on this one.
The invitation initially was for Trump to visit the United Kingdom in June, with all the trappings usually associated a state visit. A ride in a golden carriage through the streets of London. Meeting and staying with the Queen at either Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle. A YUGE state dinner with lots of dignitaries. Even an opportunity to address Parliament.
According to numerous news reports, Donald Trump didn’t just ask for a carriage ride with the Queen, he DEMANDED IT. If Vladimir Putin and President Xi of China got one, then nobody was going to deny Trump his trip behind the horses.
Almost immediately the proposed date for Trump’s trip was pushed back to October after Parliament made it quite clear there would be no invitation for Trump to speak to them. And Parliament is in recess during October. One embarrassing crisis averted.
Then came the terrorist attack at London Bridge the beginning of June. Instead of acting presidential, so presidential you wouldn’t even recognize him, Trump reverted to type and used this human tragedy as an opportunity to “hit back” at the Major of London. Sadiq Khan had expressed his view during our elections that he did not think Trump would make a good president. While Trump might have felt better after “unwounding himself” by hitting back, the people of London did not take his comments kindly.
Amidst speculation that any visit by Donald Trump to London, whether he was the President of the United States or not, would be met with massive protests in the streets, the idea has been quietly floated that the state visit might not happen after all. There have even been rumors of a proposed “mass mooning” of the president during his golden carriage ride.
As most people know, Trump’s rare public appearances are carefully scripted and choreographed. With the rare exception of his recent foreign trip, he can rest assured that the crowds greeting him will be filled with his lovingly ardent supporters. Trump thrives on adulation. It is a drug and a tonic for him. He is also a coward, and even the possibility of being received by H.M. The Queen would not be enough if he had to go through throngs of people booing him on his way through the streets of London.
In the Queen’s Speech given before Parliament earlier today, there was noticeably an absence of any mention of a State Visit by the POTUS. Other State Visits were mentioned, but not his. While Theresa May struggles to maintain her grip on power it might have finally dawned on her that any friendship with the highly unpopular American President can only harm, not help, her chances. The word from #10 Downing Street is that the visit was not mentioned because no firm date has been set. That’s their story and I’m sure they are going to stick to it.
But the idea of a meeting between Trump and the Royal Family raises some entertaining daydreams. Would the Queen, over a nice cup of tea, discuss aspects of military service during wartime. After all, Her Majesty by herself has more military experience than the entire Trump family put together. Perhaps Prince Charles might bring up one of his favorite topics – climate change. That would go over well. And I’m sure the Princes William and Harry would love to share their feelings about Donald’s trashy comments about their mother, the late Princess Diana.
If Donald Trump does make any further overseas visits, he’s more likely to limit them to countries like Saudi Arabia, where protesters are executed. Besides, it’s so much more fun sword dancing and touching an orb than doing serious diplomatic work.
In the meantime, God Save the Queen!