President Trump’s state visit to the United Kingdom has been thrown into doubt – allegedly because he is worried about the mass protest which would likely greet him.
Trump was invited to meet the Queen, and potentially address the UK Parliament, shortly after his inauguration.
The visit – the greatest honor which Britain can offer a foreign leader – was originally slated for June, then later changed to a suggested date in October.
But, according to numerous reports, the President is now unsure about making the visit at all while public hostility to him in Britain is so high.
More than 1.8 million people petitioned Parliament to rescind the invitation (though their objections were ignored), and thousands of people have expressed their willingness to take to the streets and make Trump’s visit uncomfortable.
As Heat Street reported last week, one plan being considered by British activists was a mass mooning project, labelled #ShowYourRumpToTrump.
Such reports appear to have had an effect. According to the Guardian, Trump effectively put the visit “on hold” in a recent call with Theresa May by mentioning his nervousness about protests.
Similar details were reported by The Times of London, which claimed that a forthcoming speech by the Queen, in which she formally announces imminent state visits, will make no mention of Trump.
Both the British and US governments rebutted claims that the visit had been cancelled completely – the White House denied that Trump mentioned it in a call, while Downing Street said the invitation still stands.
However, both administrations left themselves enough wiggle room to postpone the visit more or less indefinitely.
The prospect of a visit became even less tempting after Trump got into a Twitter spat with London mayor Sadiq Khan over his response to the London Bridge terror attacks just over a week ago.
At the same time, Prime Minister Theresa May will likely be glad to take the contentious Trump visit off of the agenda, having just fared poorly in a snap general election.
The Trump administration has proved sensitive about the presence (or absence) of protests on trips abroad.
When the President visited Saudi Arabia, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross marvelled at the lack of protesters – before being reminded that the uncompromising Saudi attitude to dissent makes public protest a dangerous prospect.
On a later visit to Brussels (pictured above), opposition was out in full as locals insisted he was “not welcome here”.