Donald Trump is not worthy of his upcoming ceremonial state visit to Britain, suggested London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Friday, saying that the US President is not “in the same class” as his predecessors.
Most US presidents have not made state visits to the UK—the exceptions are Barack Obama, who visited in 2011 and George W. Bush, who visited in 2003.
“History tells us only two [US] Presidents have had a state visit,” Khan said during an interview on British radio station LBC. “President Trump is not in the same class as those two.”
“Of course we should have a close relationship with the president of the USA, but we shouldn’t be rolling out the red carpet, we shouldn’t have a state banquet,” Sadiq added.
Trump’s state visit
Trump has traveled to the UK before, meeting Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle in 2018, but that was styled as a working visit.
This time, his visit is planned to take place from June 3 to June 5, and will involve the full trappings of a state occasion. Its grand ceremonial flourishes will be similar to those enjoyed by Obama, including a formal welcome at Horse Guard’s Parade, followed by lunch and dinner at Buckingham Palace, a royal source told CNN.
State visits are normally made on invitation by Queen Elizabeth. According to the royal family’s official website, the program of the visit can vary.
Trump’s trip will finally make good on UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s invitation for a full state visit, made shortly after he took office in 2016 – which prompted 1.8 million to sign a petition in protest.
Trump is deeply unpopular in the UK. His 2018 working visit sparked protests involving over 250,000 people in London and other cities. The capital’s anti-Trump demonstrations featured a 20-foot “Trump Baby” blimp that flew outside Parliament – given permission to do so by Khan.
Khan’s comments on Friday could inflame another war of words with Trump; the two have been sniping at each other in interviews and on Twitter since 2016.
“Hugh Grant-type, public scene”
Khan also said he had an issue with the way Trump talked about women – a view he said May should “call him out” for during June’s state visit. Though not in a “Hugh Grant-type, public scene,” he added, in reference to the fictional confrontation between a British Prime Minister and US President in the 2003 movie “Love Actually.”
Khan added that Trump’s treatment of women gave “almost a green light for others to behave badly.” During his 2016 US presidential campaign, a leaked tape from television show “Access Hollywood” revealed Trump bragging that he could grope women because of his celebrity status and that sometimes he would “just start kissing them.”
“The prime minister should say, ‘Listen, we may have a special relationship, we may agree on most things but I got to tell you this… I think you are wrong on A, B, C, D and E,” said Khan.
London’s first elected Muslim mayor, Khan has also previously criticized the US president for his travel ban on citizens of several Muslim-majority countries. Trump, meanwhile, has hit out at Khan for his handling of terror attacks carried out in London, citing the attacks in his call for the travel ban.
In November 2017, Khan also slammed Trump for retweeting anti-Muslim propaganda from a British far-right party, and suggested May shouldn’t welcome Trump into their country for a state visit.
“We’re (the US’s) closest mates, that give us a responsibility to call people out,” Khan said in his interview today.