Donald Trump could make snap UK visit next week to avoid mass protests


Downing Street is readying for a potential snap visit by Donald Trump as early as next week, Whitehall sources suggest. Opponents of the US president have called on Theresa May to scrap plans for an official state visit, promising mass protests in response.

It is understood Trump will visit his golf resort in Scotland during the four-day recess between the end of the G20 summit in Hamburg and his Bastille Day visit to Paris.

A White House source told the Sunday Times: “There is a window of opportunity for the president to visit Britain when he is in Europe later this month.

“It is likely it will be hastily arranged and it is possible no official confirmation of his visit will be given until at least 24 hours before to stop any large-scale protests against his visit from being mobilized.”

If the Republican leader confirms his visit to the UK, it is likely a meeting will be scheduled with Prime Minister Theresa May.

A Downing Street spokesman, however, said May’s government is yet to be notified of any such visit.

“I am not aware of any plans for the president to visit the UK in the next few weeks,” the spokesman said, according to Reuters.

An official state visit, in which the POTUS would meet Queen Elizabeth II, was slated to take place during the summer, but was postponed to the autumn as Trump feared it would stir up mass protests. Further doubt was cast on the invitation when it went unmentioned in the Queen’s Speech, where the schedule for visiting dignitaries is usually announced.

May first extended the invitation in January when she visited the White House soon after Trump was sworn in.

However, news of a visit sparked mass protests in the UK. A petition calling for the invite to be withdrawn, as it would be “an embarrassment to the Queen,” rapidly garnered 1.8 million signatures.

Anti-Trump protesters are now being told to be on “standby” amid reports of a sudden visit.

Guardian columnist and co-founder of the Stop Trump coalition Owen Jones called on the public to protest against the “misogynist” leader’s visit.

“Donald Trump is so cowardly he thinks he can sneak into the country to avoid protests,” Jones said, according to the Daily Mail.

“We have to prove him wrong. We’re asking Britain to be on standby to take to the streets with just hours’ notice if necessary.

“Let’s not allow the arrival of a misogynist, a racist, a bigot, and a threat to peace be unchallenged.

“Let’s take to the street in great number – and do ourselves proud by showing that Britain rejects his hatred.”

Labour’s former shadow minister Paul Flynn accused the government of being out of touch with the public mood.

“The Government is clearly insensitive to the growing feeling against President Trump’s state visit,” said Flynn, according to PA.

“An invitation was premature at best and entirely misconceived at worst.”

Despite the widespread opposition, the government has always said the visit will go ahead, and that the president would be “extended a full courtesy of a state visit.”

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson dismissed speculation the visit had been shelved and sought to explain why it was absent from the Queen’s Speech.

That’s because we haven’t yet agreed a date with the White House. That was pushed back as a result of the election,” Johnson told Sky News.

“The formality is that you cannot put the presidential visit in [the Queen’s Speech] until the date has been agreed. But the visit will go ahead.”

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