Trump stokes Brexit turmoil at start of visit
July 12 2018 10:54 PM
Prime Minster Theresa May and her husband Philip stand together with US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at the entrance to Blenheim Palace, where they later attended a dinner with specially invited guests and business leaders, near Oxford, Britain, yesterday.


Donald Trump began a protest-laden trip to Britain yesterday by questioning whether Prime Minister Theresa May will deliver on UK voters’ intentions when they decided to quit the European Union.
The convention-shredding US president ignored diplomatic niceties ahead of touching down for the four-day visit — his first to Britain since taking power — by rebuking his beleaguered host as she battles to stop her government falling apart over Brexit.
“The people voted to break it up (Britain’s ties with the EU),” Trump said in Brussels following a Nato summit there just before flying to London.
“So I would imagine that’s what they will do, but maybe they will take a little bit of a different route. I don’t know (if) that is what they voted for,” he added.
Asked about Trump’s remarks while also in Brussels, May said: “What we are doing is delivering on the vote of the British people... that’s what our proposal does.”
The president and First Lady Melania Trump landed at Stansted Airport from where they were whisked by helicopter to Winfield House, the American diplomatic residence.
At a welcoming garden party, the Beatles track “We can work it out” played in the background.
Trump is set to largely avoid mass protests planned for his controversial trip, which includes talks with May, tea with Queen Elizabeth II and a private weekend in Scotland.
Before arriving he shrugged off the organised demonstrations, which today will include a giant baby-shaped balloon bearing Trump’s features and have required police to be mobilised from across the country.
“They like me a lot in the UK,” he added in Brussels.
But some 77% of Britons have an unfavourable view of Trump, according to a poll by YouGov with 1,648 respondents.
Amnesty International yesterday unveiled a 15-metre banner on Vauxhall bridge opposite the US Embassy branding him a “Human Rights Nightmare”.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who signed off on the so-called “Trump Baby” blimp, defended the decision yesterday, arguing the protests were not anti-American.
“But having a special relationship means that we expect the highest standards from each other, and it also means speaking out when we think the values we hold dear are under threat,” he said.
Despite a series of diplomatic spats between Britain and Trump, May is hoping for a quick trade deal with the US after it leaves the EU.
“There is no stronger alliance than that of our special relationship with the US and there will be no alliance more important in the years ahead,” May said ahead of the visit.
But Brexit champion Nigel Farage, conducting interviews outside the ambassador’s residence after Trump’s arrival, predicted there would be “confrontation” on the visit. “The Americans can’t believe, quite frankly, what a mess we’re making of Brexit,” he told the BBC.
Trump arrived in Britain after a fraught Nato summit in Brussels where he piled pressure on allies to double their defence spending. He is due to leave on Sunday for talks in Helsinki the following day with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose government May has accused of unleashing a lethal nerve agent in the city of Salisbury. Russia has strongly denied the charge.
May and Trump will today hold talks, expected to focus on Brexit and Russia, at the prime minister’s Chequers country residence followed by a press conference. Trump next heads to Windsor Castle for tea with the Queen, as protesters stage a mass demonstration in London. He then travels north to Scotland where he will spend the weekend privately, joined by son Eric Trump.

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