U.S. President Donald Trump has completed a trip to the U.K. marked by extensive protests.
The president also left the United Kingdom reeling by flying in the face of diplomatic protocol.
Meeting the Queen
Trump spoke highly of his meeting with Queen Elizabeth II, who had invited him for tea. That said, despite his praising the Queen as a “fantastic woman,” he showed more than a slight carelessness toward the most basic courtesies typically expected in her presence. Twitter lit up as residents of Great Britain fired their displeasure at his behavior.
British tweets pointed out that the president arrived 12 minutes late, walked far too briskly for the 92 year-old monarch to keep up, walking ahead of her and turning his back to her, while apparently oblivious to the directions she was trying to share with him regarding where they should be walking. Still, in an interview later that day, he stated Windsor Castle “is beautiful, it was really beautiful, but the Queen is terrific.”
That said, Twitter users also pointed out that the tea itself was very brief, and it was notable that other members of the royal family were absent. When Trump was asked about the discussions he had shared with the Queen, he suddenly gave priority to diplomatic convention, stating “Well I can’t talk. You know, I’ve heard very strongly from a lot of people, you just don’t talk about conversations with the Queen, right?”
Below the Trump Baby Balloon
Trump didn’t mince words about his displeasure regarding the massive orange baby Trump blimp flying above tens of thousands of protestors in London at Parliament Square. He appeared to take far greater notice of the balloon than the careful welcome Prime Minister Theresa May had laid out for him.
Trump, a known fan of Sir Winston Churchill was invited to a banquet at Blenheim Palace, Churchill’s birthplace. He was also invited to lunch at Chequers. However, his response to this welcome was to give the Sun a scathing interview in which he attacked May’s Brexit strategy. He also put his nose into British domestic policy while simultaneously threatening to block a trade deal between Great Britain and the United States. Next on his list was to bash London Mayor Sadiq Khan before stating that Boris Johnson – who resigned last week and had previously been May’s opponent – would make a great prime minister.
The paper published the article just as coffee was being served at Blenheim. Trump later revealed that he apologised to May, to which he said she replied “Don’t worry, it’s only the press.”
Throughout Trump’s visit to the United Kingdom, news media and Twitter feeds were swamped with images of thousands upon thousands of protestors marching through London, Manchester, Belfast and Glasgow.
This didn’t stop by Friday evening, when Trump departed for Scotland, where he expected “two days of meetings, calls and hopefully some golf – my primary form of exercise,” according to a tweet. He was met by over 9,000 protestors in Edinburgh when he spent time on his own golf course, playing with his son, Eric.
A paraglider made headlines when he protested under the Greenpeace logo, pulling a banner on which was printed “Trump: well below par #resist.” The protester broke no-fly zone rules over the golf resort when he sailed along over the luxury hotel upon Trump’s arrival. Police apprehended the man and charged him.
Another group of protestors took advantage of the hilly terrain surrounding the golf resort. They stood on one hill overlooking the green where the President was playing and heckled him. “No Trump, no KKK, no racist USA,” they repeated. The president waved to them but otherwise appeared to ignore them until he and his security escort took a golf cart to the next hole.
“Some of them are protesting in my favour, you know that? There are many, many protests in my favour,” he said in the Piers Morgan interview.
A “Special Relationship”
Trump flew out of Pretswick airport in Glasgow. He stressed that the relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States was a “special relationship,” adding that it was “the highest level of special.”
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) July 15, 2018
That said, according to Prime Minister May, he did not seem to think the same of the relationship between the U.K. and the European Union. He attempted to advise her regarding the subject of Brexit. However, the strategy he suggested was “too brutal,” in May’s opinion. The reason was that he indicated that the solution would be for Great Britain to sue the E.U.
Meeting Vladimir Putin in Helsinki
Upon leaving the United Kingdom, Trump headed to Helsinki where he was to meet Vladimir Putin. As much as it was possible for some to laugh off the gong show that took place in the U.K., the situation with the Putin meeting is far from amusing.
It appears as though those who had called the meeting a deadly serious one were not being overly dramatic. The U.S. president appears to have shocked and disgusted many around the world as well as notables back in the United States. Some of his proudest supporters joined the uproar on Twitter denouncing his actions in meeting with Putin.
US Republican and Democrat Reactions
Republicans joined Democrats in calling Trump’s words and actions “disgraceful” as he stood side-by-side with Putin at the press conference in Helsinki.
Republican John McCain said the press conference between Trump and Putin was “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.” He added that “President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world.” He concluded that “No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.”
Today’s press conference in #Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) July 16, 2018
McCain’s statement was retweeted by former Republican Florida governor Jeb Bush and Democratic New York Senator Chuck Schumer, among many others. Schumer then tweeted that “In the entire history of our country, Americans have never seen a president of the United States support an American adversary the way [Trump] has supported President Putin.”
Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake referred to the press conference as “shameful,” saying “I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression.”
U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, referred to it as a “very good day for President Putin.”