Donald Trump's UK visit 'will go ahead in new year' despite row with Theresa May

Protestors in Parliament Square during the MPs about Donald Trump’s state visit in February 2017 (Rex)

The US ambassador expects Donald Trump to visit the UK in the new year — despite opposition from the British public and the president’s Twitter spat with Theresa May.

Woody Johnson said that the disagreement, which came about after Trump shared videos by the far-right Britain First group, was “probably misinterpreted”.

The Prime Minister said Trump was “wrong” to share the post, resulting in Republican lashing out in characteristic style on Twitter.

Organisers of a protest group hope to gather a million people to demonstrate against the president’s proposed visit, which could be scaled back to a “working” visit.

Journalist Owen Jones and the Stop Trump protest group said they were hoping for the largest protest in British history to welcome to controversial former businessman.

But, on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the US ambassador to Britain said that the leaders have “a very, very good relationship” despite the disagreement.

“The way I would look at it, and I think the way he looks at, it is security is his number one oath and when he took the oath of office it was to protect Americans here,” Johnson said.

“So if you look at it in the context of that, that’s what he’s trying to do. Is he going to be perfect and appeasing everybody?”

Asked if the president would still visit the UK, Johnson, who has known Trump for 35 years, said: “I hope so.”

“That hasn’t been officially announced but I hope he does because it’s building trust and he has to be dedicated and the visit that he’s had, the official visit the queen invited him to, he’s accepted that and that invitation, they just haven’t set a date,” he said.

Sir Christopher Meyer, a former British ambassador to the US, said withdrawing the invitation now would give “serious offence” to many people in the US.


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“I think it will be a highly circumscribed visit when it does go ahead,” he told Today. “The security risks – including the risk of protests and public disorder – will be “very great,” he added.

“US investment in the UK creates [up to] two million jobs, let’s think about the essentials and not the fisticuffs above the surface,” Sir Christopher said.

Labour MP Stella Creasy, who was also on the show, said that “normally we would all accept that this is a state visit,” but said Trump is not a “normal leader”.

“By sharing and promoting videos by Britain First, he has undermined out democratic process and, I believe, put people in our communities at risk. I fear what else he would do if he did come here.”

“It’s an unusual situation but it’s a situation of Donald Trump’s own making. I think the British people deserve better. They deserve an apology.”