President Donald Trump on Monday arrived in the UK for a state visit that includes the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
Before departing, Trump endorsed former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson in the Conservative Party race for prime minister and urging the country to exit its “Brexit” negotiations if its demands aren’t met by the European Union.
On arrival to the UK, US President Donald Trump lashed out at London Mayor Sadiq Khan, reviving a long-running enmity between the two.
On landing, he sent out a pair of tweets calling Khan a “stone cold loser” for criticising his red carpet treatment, which includes a private lunch and state banquet hosted by Queen Elizabeth II.
Khan, “who by all accounts has done a terrible job as Mayor of London, has been foolishly ‘nasty’ to the visiting president of the United States, by far the most important ally of the United Kingdom”, he said.
“He is a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me,” Trump wrote, likely referring to a spike in fatal stabbings in the capital which is causing widespread public concern.
Some British politicians will be boycotting him and big protests are expected in London.
He also referred to Meghan Markle, the duchess of Sussex and a grand-daughter-in-law of Queen Elizabeth II, as “nasty” in an interview with a British newspaper — a comment he denied making despite the existence of a clear audio recording.
While it has been on the books for some time, Trump’s first official “state visit” to the U.K. couldn’t come at a more auspicious moment for British officials eager to show their “special relationship” with the U.S. is as strong as ever.
In short, they need him, and he knows it. But Prime Minister Theresa May, who will meet with Trump Tuesday, is stepping down Friday.
In addition to May and the royals, Trump plans to take a quick trip to Ireland to meet with Taioseach Leo Varadkar, who is head of that nation’s government, and sit down for a one-on-one with French President Emmanuel Macron.
All of it will play out against the backdrop of the anniversary of D-Day — June 6, 1944 — when Allied forces launched a surprise attack, establishing a beachhead at Normandy, France, and turning the tide of World War II in Europe. At the time, the the U.S. and U.K. were joined in their efforts to stop the expansionist nationalism of Nazi Germany.
Trump is expected to participate in ceremonies celebrating the anniversary Wednesday on the British side of the English Channel and Thursday at Normandy.
American officials say the timing of Trump’s trip, though long-planned, serves to illustrate that it’s the bond between the countries — not the personalities — that matters.