Will Trump visit UK? May, White House deny Guardian report, say trip still on
US President Donald Trump arrives at Newark International airport in Newark, NJ US, to spend a weekend at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminister, New Jersey, June 9, 2017. Photograph: (Reuters)
Prime Minister Theresa May's office said on Sunday there had been no change to plans for US President Donald Trump's to come to Britain on a state visit, after the Guardian newspaper reported the trip had been postponed.
The paper, citing an unidentified adviser at May's Downing Street office who was in the room at the time, reported Trump had told May by telephone in recent weeks that he did not want to come if there were likely to be large-scale protests.
"We aren’t going to comment on speculation about the contents of private phone conversations," a spokeswoman for May's office said. "The queen extended an invitation to President Trump to visit the UK and there is no change to those plans."
Meanwhile, the White House also denied the Guardian report, with an administration official telling Reuters, "The subject never came up on the call."
No date has been set for the visit, which was agreed during May's visit to Washington in January, but British media had reported it was planned for October.
May's hold on power has been significantly weakened since the results of a snap election last week cost her Conservative Party a parliamentary majority. In a bid to save her position, May has been trying to form a government with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, or DUP, a small faction of social conservatives.
She needs eight seats to form a majority, and the DUP hold ten. British politics is going through an upheaval just a week before talks begin on Britain's exit from the European Union, set for 2019.
Trump's public criticism this month of London Mayor Sadiq Khan's response to an attack by Islamist militants in London was condemned in Britain. May found herself forced to defend Khan, who is from the opposition Labour party.
Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his "no reason to be alarmed" statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2017
At that time, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said there was no reason to cancel the visit, while White House spokesman Sean Spicer said that Trump intended to go and that "he appreciates Her Majesty's gracious invitation".
Trump said he was unwilling to explicitly endorse a candidate in the UK election, but he had appeared with pro-Brexit Theresa May, holding hands in late January. After the election, where May lost her majority but retained power in the UK, Trump called to offer his "warm support".
Bernie Sanders called to congratulate the Labour Party's Jeremy Corbyn, May's opponent, who while not coming into power gained important seats and achieved a large and surprising success.
(With inputs from Reuters)