In a break with tradition, American President Donald Trump will avoid as much of London as possible during his first official UK visit, but first lady Melania Trump will spend almost all her time in the city, according to The Huffington Post.
Huge protests are planned in the UK’s capital city during Trump’s visit when he arrives with first lady Melania Trump on Thursday. But instead of attending business in London, which is what most heads of state who arrive in the UK do, Trump will head to a business sector gala at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill which is outside the city. He’ll return to London to spend the night at Nine Elms, the residence of Woody Johnson, U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom.
On Friday, as Melania Trump will accompany Philip May, UK PM Theresa May’s husband, in visiting schoolchildren and veterans, Donald Trump will once again head outside the city to attend a military demonstration with his UK counterpart.
“UK and US special forces will be involved in a demonstration which will involve a counter-terrorism scenario and an outdoor capabilities demonstration showing equipment that the [British] special forces use when they conduct joint operations with their US counterparts,” a statement from Downing Street read.
This is when huge protests will be held across the city, with 50,000 people expected to turn up on Friday afternoon — parading to Trafalgar Square through central London. Meanwhile, other protests will simultaneously be held at other places in the city, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan giving permission for a giant inflatable Trump baby to fly over Parliament.
Donald Trump will then visit the Queen with first lady Melania Trump at Windsor Castle before heading off to Theresa May’s countryside home Chequers. Finally, he will head to Scotland without returning to London for any more meetings.
It is widely believed that such a schedule has been designed for Donald Trump because of the overwhelming protests that are expected to descend on London during his visit. While it is not unusual for heads of state to visit Windsor Castle or meet the UK Prime Minister in her country home, it is quite unusual for an American president not to spend any time in London. In fact, during past visits, both Barack Obama and George W. Bush spent a night at Buckingham Palace, and although the latter also did not receive a warm reception in London, he nonetheless made sure to make several stops during a 2003 visit.
Lance Price, who served as former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s media adviser, told the Independent that no matter what the American convoy contends, the fact that Donald Trump is avoiding London points to a moral victory for the protesters.
“If he’s having to be ferried around in secret, by helicopter, without coming into contact with any ordinary British people, then almost by definition the protesters have won.”
Well, at least Melania Trump is spending her time in London — and maybe Donald Trump could take some learning from that.