U.S. President Donald Trump will make a state visit to the United Kingdom in June, Buckingham Palace announced on Tuesday, a trip Britain hopes will cement transatlantic relations but one that immediately prompted criticism and promises of protests.
Trump will be only the third U.S. president to have been accorded the honor of a state visit by Queen Elizabeth during her 67-year reign. But the trip, from June 3-5, is likely to be controversial given many Britons deeply dislike the man and reject his policies on issues such as immigration.
Almost 1.9 million Britons signed a petition in 2017 saying he should not be given a state visit – a pomp-laden affair involving a carriage trip through London and a banquet at Buckingham Palace. Protests involving tens of thousands of demonstrators overshadowed his non-state trip to Britain last July.
The opposition Labour Party strongly criticized Prime Minister Theresa May for pressing ahead with the ceremonial stay, which she offered Trump when she became the first foreign leader to visit him after his inauguration in January 2017.
May, who is facing calls for her resignation from some lawmakers in her own Conservative Party over her handling of the country’s exit from the European Union, which is still stalled, will be hoping for strong backing for a post-Brexit U.S.-UK trade deal.
“The UK and United States have a deep and enduring partnership that is rooted in our common history and shared interests,” May said in a statement.
The state visit would be an opportunity to strengthen already close ties in areas such as trade, investment, security and defense, she said.
The White House said the trip would reaffirm “the steadfast and special relationship” between the allies.