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Is President Donald Trump’s planned U.K. visit ever going to happen? On Sunday, the Guardian reported that Trump told British Prime Minister Theresa May in a phone call that he didn’t want to make an official state visit to the U.K. if there were likely to be widespread protests―something which would, given his massive unpopularity there, probably happen.
It’s not just everyday Britons who don’t want Trump to set foot in their country for a full-fledged state visit. Many left-wing members of parliament have also called on May to rescind the invitation in recent months, and London mayor Sadiq Khan joined that chorus earlier this month after Trump personally attacked him in the aftermath of a terrorist attack.
According to the Guardian’s reporting, Trump doesn’t want to go unless a warm reception can be assured. As it stands now, that looks like an entirely impossible demand, which means Trump may opt to stay away rather than face a broadly disdainful British public.
Trump, who labeled Comey as 'cowardly' this AM, won't go to the UK on a state visit if there are large protests. https://t.co/aBagPlcxQL— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) June 11, 2017
According to Reuters, the British government has denied the substance of the Guardian‘s report with a spokesperson for May insisting that there’s been no change to the plans for Trump’s visit, saying “We aren’t going to comment on speculation about the contents of private phone conversations. The queen extended an invitation to President Trump to visit the U.K. and there is no change to those plans.”
Given the timing of these reports, it can’t be overlooked how the recent British parliamentary elections may be playing a role. Despite May calling a snap election back in April, so confident was she that the Tory party would increase its parliamentary majority and consolidate its power, the voters sent back a stinging rebuke with Labour picking up seats and the Tories losing their majority outright.
As such, having played a majority into a hung parliament and buoying the profile of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, calls for May’s resignation have intensified. Considering the British public’s deep antipathy to Trump, there are fair reasons for both leaders to want to pump the brakes on his visit.
That includes Corbyn himself.
Cancellation of President Trump's State Visit is welcome, especially after his attack on London's mayor & withdrawal from #ParisClimateDeal.— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) June 11, 2017
So far, however, neither side has copped to feeling any hesitations. The actual date of the visit has never been scheduled, however, meaning there’s one strategy both sides could employ: just keep kicking it down the road.
Chris Tognotti is a frequent contributor for the Daily Dot. He’s a news and current events writer based out of Berkeley, California, and a co-host of the podcast Now We Know. While he specializes in domestic politics and opinion writing, he’s also savvy on sports, video games, and film.