Donald Trump Cancels UK Visit Amid Embassy Row
Following months of speculation, Donald Trump has announced that he will cancel his visit the London to open the new $1 billion embassy. Although he took to Twitter to claim he disagreed with the deal made on the new embassy, many suspect he cancelled as he was concerned about the possibility of mass protests.
Trump was initially offered a state visit when Theresa May became the first world leader to visit following his inauguration. After widespread complains, this was later downgraded to a working visit. A state visit would be officially hosted by the Queen and would include an audience with the Queen, a state banquet and the opportunity to address parliament.
Since she became the monarch in 1952, the Queen has hosted 109 state visits. Donald Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama was invited for a state visit after two-and-a-half years into his term as president. Questions were initially raised into why Trump was extended an invitation so soon into his presidency. Announcements that the invitation had been given were met with protests and petitions.
House Speaker, John Bercow also spoke out against the proposed plans to allow Trump to address parliament. In a speech, he said: “An address by a foreign leader to both House of Parliament is not an automatic right. It is an earned honour.” He concluded his speech by stating: “I would not wish to issue an invitation to President Trump to speak in the Royal Gallery.”
Bercow wasn’t alone in his condemnation of the proposed state visit. There were also threats of mass protests up and down the country. Some have pointed to the downgrading the state visit to a working visit for the reason behind Trump’s decision to cancel the visit. His working visit was supposed to coincide with the opening of the new Embassy to the United States, and this was the reason he cited for cancelling his trip.
In a late night Tweet, Trump said: “Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for “peanuts,” only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!” Many were quick to point out that the deal he is referring to was made in October 2008, when George Bush was still president.
Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson will attend the opening of the new US embassy in Vauxhall in his place. At the moment, no arrangements have been made to reschedule Trump’s working visit.