US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are making a state visit to the UK from 3 to 5 June. While Mr Trump will only be the third US president to make a state visit to the UK, he is arguably the most controversial figure and many have opposed the visit. His policies – from the executive order that restricts entry to the US from certain countries, to the wall with Mexico, and his rejection of the Paris climate deal – have provoked criticism, both domestically and internationally.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has refused to attend Mr Trump’s state banquet and Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has also declined an invitation to attend. In a statement, the Labour leader said he disagreed with the prime minister’s decision to offer a formal visit to the US leader and confirmed he would not attend any state dinner.
“Theresa May should not be rolling out the red carpet for a state visit to honour a president who rips up vital international treaties, backs climate change denial and uses racist and misogynist rhetoric,” said Corbyn. “Maintaining an important relationship with the United States does not require the pomp and ceremony of a state visit. It is disappointing that the prime minister has again opted to kowtow to this US administration.”
Over half of Londoners (54 per cent) say they oppose Mr Trump’s visit, with just 24 per cent supporting it, according to a recent poll by YouGov and Queen Mary University of London with many MPs opposing the visit as well. An Early Day Motion tabled on 23 April 2019 calling on the Government to cancel it gained over 100 signatures.
Among other things, it stated “That this House deplores the record of US President Donald Trump, including his misogynism, racism and xenophobia and condemns his previous comments on women, refugees and torture.”
Trump has engaged in a political, legal and social assault against immigrants and
refugees since his inauguration. A week into his presidency he stopped the US’s entire refugee programme for 120 days, implemented a discriminatory indefinite ban on Syrian refugees and
banned admissions from seven Muslim majority countries.
Chuka Umunna MP told Sky News: “He is normalising hatred… If we don’t call this out, we are going down a very dangerous road.”
The Trump administration has also been responsible for forcibly removing over 2,000 children from their parents or guardians since the initiation of the “zero tolerance” immigration policy in April 2018. The new policy was denounced by the UN human rights agency, US politicians and immigrants’ rights activists and the scathing criticism escalated after an NBC news report revealed the Texas immigrant detention centre only allowed the children to play outside for 2 hours each day.
Despite formally ending the policy of family separations last summer, immigration advocates in Texas have reported that young children are still being torn away from their parents when they cross the US-Mexico border.
Trump was also behind the decision to stop all funding to UNRWA, the UN Works and Relief Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. UNRWA has provided education, health care food and social services to millions of Palestinian refugees for almost 70 years. The US has been the largest single donor to UNRWA, accounting for funding almost 30 per cent of its operations. The move was met with damning responses from the international community who view this as an immense roadblock on the path to peace.
In March 2019, Trump branded the mainstream media the “enemy” and the “opposition party” after the Mueller report cleared him of collusion, accusing journalists of covering the Russia probe unfairly.
“The Mainstream Media is under fire and being scorned all over the World as being corrupt and FAKE. For two years they pushed the Russian Collusion Delusion when they always knew there was No Collusion,” Trump tweeted. “They truly are the Enemy of the People and the Real Opposition Party!”
Trump has previously used “enemy of the people” echoing a Stalinist phrase used to describe political enemies to describe the media, which he has always said does not give him accurate coverage.
During the president’s visit to the UK last July, an estimated 250,000 people protested on the streets of central London. This year, the organisers behind the anti-Trump protests are expecting similar numbers and like last year, the International Observatory of Human Rights is joining the demonstration in London on 4 June.
The campaign group Stop Trump said: “Trump is coming back for a state visit and we have to get out there again in a diverse Carnival of Resistance that shows we reject Trump’s divisive politics and policies of bigotry, hate and greed.”