President Donald Trump has reportedly sparked security fears over his planned visit to the United Kingdom in October to meet Queen Elizabeth II of England. The security concerns arose after Trump demanded a ride with Her Majesty in her gold-plated, horse-drawn carriage during his visit, according to a report by The Times of London.
The White House reportedly informed Buckingham Palace officials that Trump wants to be treated to a traditional Horse Guards procession in which an ornate, gold-plated royal carriage drawn by six white horses travels leisurely down The Mall from the Royal Mews to Buckingham Palace. But British officials are worried about the security implications of the president of the United States riding in a poorly protected carriage. According to security officials who spoke with The Times, a situation where Trump rides in a poorly protected carriage would create “monster” problems for security officials charged with the duty of keeping the U.S. president safe during his visit to the U.K.
— Raw Story (@RawStory) April 15, 2017
— Muckmaker (@RealMuckmaker) April 16, 2017
However, it is not unusual for world leaders visiting the U.K. to take part in a carriage procession with the Queen from the Royal Mews to the Palace, the Hill reports. Other world leaders, including the Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, and the Chinese President Xi Jinping, all took carriage rides with the Queen during state visits in 2015.
While President Vladimir Putin chose to ride in the Queen’s favorite open, gold-plated buggy, China’s Xi Jinping had insisted on riding in an armor-plated closed carriage in 2015, according to the New York Post. But British security officials are worried about the unique security implications of the president of the United States riding in a poorly protected carriage.
Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, had chosen to forgo the pomp of a gilded royal carriage procession for his state visit in 2011, opting instead for the relative security of a special armored, bullet and bomb-proof vehicle.
Trump demands a carriage ride with the Queen during his U.K. visit https://t.co/GYiR31bHXp
— Ayla (@CamilleHurn) April 16, 2017
— Daily Express (@Daily_Express) April 16, 2017
“The vehicle which carries the president of the United States is a spectacular vehicle,” a worried security official told The Times. “It is designed to withstand a massive attack like a low-level rocket grenade.”
“If he’s in that vehicle he is incredibly well protected and on top of that it can travel at enormous speed,” the official continued. “If he is in a golden coach being dragged up the Mall by a couple of horses, the risk factor is dramatically increased.”
Although the Queen’s golden coach has a bulletproof glass, it is flimsy compared with the glass of the armored vehicle designed to provide security for the U.S. President.
— Trial Lawyer Richard (@TrialLawyerRich) April 16, 2017
“There may well be protections in that coach such as bulletproof glass, but they are limited. In particular, it is very flimsy,” the source told The Times. “It would not be able to put up much resistance in the face of a rocket propelled grenade or high-powered ammunition. Armor-piercing rounds would make a very bad show of things.”
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) April 15, 2017
Millions of people, including tens of thousands of protesters, are expected to line the procession route. Terrorists could plan to take advantage of the crowd to launch a revenge attack following the recent escalation of the offensive against ISIS forces in the Middle East.
Terrorists could plan a revenge attack on Trump after the U.S. military dropped a 21,000 lb Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb, also known as “Mother of All Bombs,” on a network of tunnels in eastern Afghanistan, killing more than 90 ISIS militants, as Afghan authorities claimed.
A decision has reportedly not been made about Trump’s request, but British officials said that London Metropolitan Police are working with U.S. Secret Service advance teams and elite anti-terrorism units to make adequate security arrangements for Trump’s visit. Security officials have reportedly expressed a preference for Trump to ride in the bullet and bomb-proof vehicle that former President Barack Obama used during his visit to the U.K. because it is far less risky and makes their job easier.
[Featured Image by Lefteris Pitarakis/AP Photos]