President Donald Trump will visit the United Kingdom in July, the White House and Downing Street announced on Thursday, finally concluding a months-long back-and-forth over when Trump would at last visit America’s closest ally.
“The President of the United States will visit the UK on 13 July. He will hold bilateral talks with the Prime Minister during his visit. Further details will be set out in due course,” a Downing Street spokesman said in a statement.
At the White House, press secretary Sarah Sanders announced the trip during a briefing with the children of reporters who were visiting for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.
“That’s pretty exciting news around here, which we’re all happy about,” she said.
The trip will not constitute the “state visit” that Prime Minister Theresa May triumphantly announced more than a year ago from the White House. The first foreign leader to visit Trump after his inauguration, May had hoped the high honor – extended directly from Queen Elizabeth II herself – would help solidify the US-UK “special relationship” at a moment of uncertainty.
Since then, however, tensions have persisted between the two governments, including over Trump’s criticism of London’s mayor, his tweets about a bombing in London, and his retweets of an extreme right-wing British group.
Instead, Trump’s stopover will be categorized as a “working visit,” without elaborate trappings like a horse parade or a state dinner at Buckingham Palace. It will include meetings with May and her aides, who are eager to begin talks on a new trade agreement with the US as Britain nears its exit from the European Union.
It could also include a meeting with the Queen, but officials said those plans are still not final. It’s also not yet clear whether Trump’s meetings will be in London or somewhere else in Britain, where he may be able to avoid expected protests. Trump owns two golf properties in the United Kingdom, both in Scotland.
Three British government officials told CNN that Trump’s visit could occur outside of London. Among the possibilities, the officials said, are a meeting with the Queen at Windsor Castle just outside the capital, and a meeting with May at her country retreat, Chequers.