Monday 19 August 2019

Gift exchanges, protests and Trump snubs Corbyn: Here's a quick recap of US President's state visit to the UK so far

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump attend a joint news conference at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, in London, Britain June 4, 2019. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump attend a joint news conference at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, in London, Britain June 4, 2019. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at Winfield House during a state visit in London, Britain, June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump attend a joint news conference at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, in London, Britain June 4, 2019. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump attend a joint news conference at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, in London, Britain June 4, 2019. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS
A pro-U.S. President Donald Trump supporter is pushed by anti-Trump demonstrators during a rally against Trump in London, Britain, June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Philip May and U.S. first lady Melania Trump attend a joint news conference at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, in London, Britain June 4, 2019. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump attend a joint news conference at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, in London, Britain June 4, 2019. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS
A pro-U.S. President Donald Trump supporter is escorted by police after being hit with a milkshake during a rally against Trump in London, Britain, June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
US President Donald Trump arrives in Downing Street, London, to be welcomed by Prime Minister Theresa May on the second day of his state visit to the UK. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump stand in front of Downing Street 10, as part of Trump's state visit in London, Britain, June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leave Downing Street 10, as part of Trump's state visit in London, Britain, June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Trump's state visit to the UK is in full swing - but what has happened so far? Here is a quick recap of his trip so far to visit UK Prime Minister Theresa May and the British Queen.

1. No handshake... but at least it wasn't a 'fist bump'

The US President, who was involved in an awkward “fist bump” greeting with the Queen on Monday, avoided a repeat incident by not shaking the Prime Minister’s hand outside Number 10.

The two leaders had already seen each other on Tuesday morning, spending time together with business leaders at St James’ Palace.

Mrs May and husband Philip greeted the president and First Lady Melania Trump as they arrived in Downing Street.

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U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at Winfield House during a state visit in London, Britain, June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Both Mrs May and her husband shook hands with the First Lady while Mr Trump shook hands with Mr May.

On Monday, Mr Trump appeared to deliver an unusual handshake upon meeting the Queen.

Some remarked that his holding of the monarch’s hand looked at first in photographs like a fist bump.

But he actually seemed to clench her hand rather than shaking it with a flat hand.

Body language expert Judi James suggested that Mr Trump – who is known for his extreme hand-holding – was not able to get a proper grasp because the Queen usually offers only her fingertips – and that his “huge hands” did not help matters.

The American leader has form for grabbing hands and holding on to them for a long period of time, but the Queen was spared this.

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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump attend a joint news conference at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, in London, Britain June 4, 2019. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS

2. The gift exchange

A personalised Air Force One jacket, a Tiffany brooch, an Emma Bridgewater tea set and Winston Churchill mementos are among the gifts exchanged so far during US President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK.

As part of the long-held tradition of heads of state swapping official presents, Mr Trump and First Lady Melania Trump gave a gift to the Queen – and also brought along something for the Duke of Edinburgh.

Philip now has his own personalised Air Force One jacket from the Trumps, while the Queen has a new Tiffany silver and silk poppy brooch.

American leader Mr Trump received a copy of one of the most significant documents in the transatlantic “special relationship” from Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip.

It was a copy of Sir Winston’s personal draft – with his amendments in red pencil – of the 1941 Atlantic Charter, agreed with President Franklin D Roosevelt, setting out their vision for the post-war world.

Mrs Trump was given a bespoke tea set made by designer Emma Bridgewater by Mr and Mrs May.

Asked why Mr Trump was being given a historically significant gift, while his wife was being given a tea set, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “I think they are both gifts which have been carefully chosen.”

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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump attend a joint news conference at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, in London, Britain June 4, 2019. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS

The tea set was “a memento of a visit to Number 10 as part of what we hope will be a successful state visit”.

The Queen also turned to Churchill for her gift to Mr Trump – a first edition of The Second World War by Sir Winston from 1959.

Air Force One jacket, Tiffany brooch and tea set among gifts during Trump visit Code 1

Presented after a private lunch on Monday at Buckingham Palace, the crimson book features gold tooled decoration on the cover, spine and inner cover, an EIIR cypher in gold on the front, silk endpapers and hand-sewn headbands in colours of the US flag with all pages edged in gilt.

The monarch also gave Mr Trump a three-piece Duofold pen set – a fountain pen, rollerball pen and ball point pen with EIIR cypher – using the obsidian design, exclusively made for the Queen.

Mrs Trump was presented with a specially-commissioned silver box with a handcrafted enamel lid from the monarch.

Its royal blue decoration featured roses, thistles and shamrocks to represent the ceiling of the palace music room.

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US President Donald Trump arrives in Downing Street, London, to be welcomed by Prime Minister Theresa May on the second day of his state visit to the UK. Aaron Chown/PA Wire

3. Prince Philip's absence note

The Duke of Edinburgh, who has retired from public duties and spends much of his time at Wood Farm on the Sandringham estate, is not taking part in the official engagements as part of the US state visit and did not meet the Trumps at the palace behind the scenes.

4. Trump snubs Corbyn

US President Donald Trump turned down an invitation to meet Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn because he is “somewhat of a negative force”.

Mr Corbyn snubbed the state banquet hosted by the Queen in honour of the president on Monday and also spoke at an anti-Trump rally in Parliament Square as the US leader met the Prime Minister in Downing Street.

But the Labour leader had offered a meeting outside the official engagements of the state visit, the president revealed.

Mr Trump said he did “not know him, never met him, never spoke to him” but turned down the meeting because he said Mr Corbyn was “somewhat of a negative force”.

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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump stand in front of Downing Street 10, as part of Trump's state visit in London, Britain, June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

He said: “He wanted to meet today or tomorrow and I decided I would not do that.

“I think he is, from where I come from, somewhat of a negative force.

“I think the people should look to do things correctly as opposed to criticise.

“I really don’t like critics as much as I like and respect people who get things done – so I decided not to meet.”

A Labour spokesman confirmed Mr Corbyn had offered to meet.

He said: “Jeremy Corbyn proposed a meeting with Donald Trump during the president’s visit.

“Jeremy is ready to engage with the president on a range of issues, including the climate emergency, threats to peace and the refugee crisis.”

5. Protests continue in heavy rain

Jeremy Corbyn launched an attack on far-right politics as he addressed an anti-Donald Trump rally on the second day of the US President's state visit.

The Labour leader spoke to crowds from a stage in Whitehall as thousands of protesters took to London's streets on Tuesday.

Mr Trump said he refused a request for a meeting with the Labour leader and dismissed reports of demonstrations as "fake news".

Mr Corbyn, who boycotted a state banquet with the President on Monday evening, said: "In welcoming visitors from the United States, I hope there can be a conversation.

"I am not, absolutely not, refusing to meet anybody. I want to be able to have that dialogue to bring about the better and more peaceful world that we all want to live in.

"But I'm very disappointed, particularly today, on the wonderful festival of Eid, that our Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has been attacked as he has.

"I am proud that our city has a Muslim mayor, that we can chase down Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, any form of racism within our society because racism divides."

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A pro-U.S. President Donald Trump supporter is escorted by police after being hit with a milkshake during a rally against Trump in London, Britain, June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Mr Trump attacked the mayor on Twitter moments before he landed in the UK, reigniting a war of words between the pair.

Mr Corbyn, who did not address the President by name during his speech, said the demonstration showed how determined people are to "achieve a better place and a better world".

He added: "So I say to our visitors that have arrived this week, think on please about a world that is one of peace and disarmament, is one of recognising the values of all people, is a world that defeats racism, defeats misogyny, defeats the religious hatreds that are being fuelled by the far-right in politics in Britain, in Europe and the United States.

"They have no answers. No answers to young people growing up worried about their future, no answers to communities that have lost their industries, no answers for the people that are desperate in all parts of the world to get somewhere to live, no answers to those people that are desperate to get the medical help and support that they need, no answers to those going through a mental health crisis of any sort all over the world."

The Trump Babysitters group estimated tens of thousands of protesters were involved in the demonstrations - fewer than an estimated 250,000 who gathered when Mr Trump visited the UK on July 13 last year.

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