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Even before he landed at Buckingham Palace, President Trump had caused a stir in the United Kingdom. Crowds gathered to protest the state visit by Trump, who recently renewed his feud with London’s mayor, insulted a member of the royal family and shattered diplomatic protocol by weighing in on British politics. Yamiche Alcindor reports on political fragility in the UK during Trump's trip.
We return now to our top story, President Trump's state visit to the United Kingdom.
Our Yamiche Alcindor is traveling with the president and reports that, despite the trappings of royalty, Mr. Trump received a raucous welcome. And he had quite a bit to say himself.
President Trump stood silently next to the queen, observing palace rules after spending the weekend breaking a host of political ones.
Even before Marine One landed at Buckingham Palace, the president had already added to Britain's mounting political chaos. Outside the palace walls, London gave him a very different sort of welcoming ceremony.
I don't think that Donald Trump should have been invited to this country by the Tory government. He's a white supremacist fascist. He has no respect for women, for people of color or anything else you can think of, except himself.
He's tearing up a lot of what this country believes in, and we invited him here, and we're giving him all this pomp and circumstance and normalizing his behavior, and it's messed up.
The president returned the favor by taking aim at a number of notable figures in his host city. He renewed a feud with London mayor Sadiq Khan, tweeting that he was a — quote — "stone-cold loser."
He insulted a member of the royal family and he shattered diplomatic protocol by in getting involved in British domestic politics. This is a city and a nation in turmoil. This week, Prime Minister Theresa May plans to step down as leader of her party.
And the United Kingdom is supposed to leave the European Union in just four months. But there's no agreement on key issues.
I mean, really, be couldn't have come at a more awkward time.
The president criticized May's handling of Brexit, saying she had not been tough enough.
President Donald Trump:
U.K. allowed the European Union to have all the cards, and it's very hard to play well when one side has all the advantage.
President Trump offered his take on who should replace May. He said ex-foreign Secretary and Brexit supporter Boris Johnson would make a — quote — "excellent leader of the Conservative Party," or Tories.
He's a colorful controversial former journalist and mayor of London. Johnson wants to reopen Brexit talks with the E.U., but, if that fails, he says he would support leaving with no deal. But even Johnson is trying to choreograph a delicate dance.
But how useful is it for team Boris to have this endorsement, to have this meeting at this stage? I'm not sure it is that helpful. And he might, as he is trying to appeal to more moderate members of his party, want to distance himself from the U.S. president during this trip.
The president also hinted that he might stop sharing intelligence with the U.K. if Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn were to win the next general election.
I would have to meet him. I don't know him.
Corbyn boycotted the state dinner. Trump said that was a mistake. Other members of Parliament said a state visit was an honor Trump didn't deserve.
Stephen Doughty, a Labor member of Parliament, started a petition in April to try to convince May to withdraw the invitation.
We choose who we honor. And this is a racist, sexist, divisive president who's supported far-right organizations in the United States and here in the U.K. I think it's a real — really appalling situation that we should be welcoming with such sort of pomp a man he represents, I think, the very worst of the world, certainly doesn't represent the American and British values that I love.
Meanwhile, the president didn't even spare new mother Meghan Markle, the duchess of Sussex. Back in 2016, she had this to say about the future president:
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex: And with as misogynistic as Trump is, and so vocal about it, that's a huge chunk of it. You're not just voting for a woman, if it's Hillary, just because it's a woman, but certainly because Trump has made it easy to see that you don't really want that kind of world.
No, I didn't know that she was nasty.
President Trump later tweeted — quote — "I never called Meghan Markle nasty."
Meghan Markle is on maternity leave and is not scheduled to meet him. He did meet with other royals and, this evening, they gathered to toast him at a state dinner.
From the Second World War to today, Her Majesty has stood as a constant symbol of these price priceless traditions.
Queen Elizabeth II:
Mr. President, as we look to the future, I'm confident that our common values and shared interests will continue to unite us.
Despite the drama playing out on Twitter and on the streets, the president appeared to follow the royal family's lead once they were together: Keep calm and carry on.
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