Donald Trump will probably be coming to Britain later this year.
According to the Independent, US President Donald Trump will likely come to the UK in late 2018 for a “working visit”. The site reports that Downing Street has confirmed that the controversial president will not be getting a state visit.
By allowing Trump to visit and not giving him a state visit, Theresa May has carved a sensible middle path. Trump may not give the Office of President of the United States the respect it deserves, but as the elected president he represents that office and the country. As the UK prepares to make post-Brexit deals, the government cannot afford to snub the US by declining the president. I’m no fan of Trump – and neither are most Brits if polls are to be believed – but a visit from a foreign leader is about more than the meeting of two individuals.
Furthermore, a Trump visit gives the opportunity for anti-Trump sentiment to take to the streets in a peaceful manner. There will no doubt be anti-Trump demonstrations, and rightly so, as this is a president who has caused much pain and offence at home and abroad. A Trump visit will allow the UK and US governments to show that the two countries still have an important link, while also demonstrating the strength of anti-Trump sentiment.
However, the UK government has made the correct decision by not giving the go-ahead for a fully-fledged state visit – even though a YouGov poll from one year ago suggested that 49% of Brits said it should take place. However, it is worth noting that poll respondents may not have been clear as to what a state visit was compared to other types of visit.
A state visit is a rare honour, for example, only one took place in each of the past two years. Furthermore, only two US presidents have received the honour: George W. Bush in 2003 and Barack Obama in 2011.
Not giving Donald Trump a state visit is the right call.
But let him come for a "working visit".
And let the demonstrations commence.