Home / NEWS / Donald Trump’s visit to UK – watch live: US president appears to question Theresa May’s Brexit strategy

Donald Trump’s visit to UK – watch live: US president appears to question Theresa May’s Brexit strategy

Donald Trump has arrived in the UK for his first trip as US president, after he appeared to question Theresa May’s Brexit strategy – asking if what the British people voted for is really being delivered. 

The US president, who touched down at Stansted Airport in Air Force One on Thursday afternoon, said the UK now appeared to want to get “at least partially involved back with the European Union” – an apparent reference to Mrs May’s so-called Chequers plan. 

After claiming victory over his defence spending demands, Mr Trump was asked for his views on the UK’s plans for Brexit in a Press conference at Nato on Thursday morning.

He said: “I would say Brexit is Brexit. The people voted to break it up so I would imagine that’s what they would do, but maybe they’re taking a different route – I don’t know if that is what they voted for.”

He added it seemed as if the UK was “getting at least partially involved back with the European Union”.”I’d like to see them be able to work it out so it could go quickly,” he said.

Video: Trump on May’s Brexit plans – ‘I don’t know if that is what they voted for’

Responding to the comments, Mrs May said: “We have come to an agreement which absolutely delivers what people voted for”.

Mr Trump said he wanted negotiations with Brussels to be completed quickly. But he also made clear that it was up to the UK to decide how to pursue talks, saying it was not for the US president to dictate terms. 

He also waved away protests that will feature during his visit to Britain, which starts on Thursday afternoon and comes as Mrs May pushes for a post-Brexit trade deal with America. 

The US president is starting a four-day trip to the UK that is expected to leave taxpayers with a police and security bill of up to £10 million.

Mrs May will host Mr Trump, and his wife Melania, at a lavish dinner at Blenheim Palace on Thursday evening, just days after the US president said the UK was in “turmoil” following the Cabinet resignations triggered by the Prime Minister’s Brexit plans.

US Secret Service personnel await the arrival of Donald and Melania Trump

Joe Giddens /PA

Mr Trump’s latest comments on Thursday, combined with a lack of forthright support for Mrs May’s plan, are likely to be seized on by Eurosceptics hoping to force the Prime Minister into pursuing a cleaner break with the EU. 

Mrs May’s so-called “Chequers plan”, which outlines closer ties to Brussels after Brexit, prompted the resignations of Boris Johnson and David Davis. It is being fiercely opposed by some Tory Eurosceptics.

Discussing his UK visit, Mr Trump joked he was entering a “pretty hot spot right now” after there had been “a lot of resignations”. 

Asked about Brexit, Mr Trump initially said: “I’ve been reading a lot about Brexit over the last couple of days. It seems to be turning a little bit differently, where they’re getting at least partially involved back with the European Union. I have no message. It’s not for me to say.”

But he went on, at first adding: “I’d like to see them be able to work it out so it could go quickly whatever they work out.” Asked if he supported a “hard Brexit”, Mr Trump said: “I would say that Brexit is Brexit.”

He added: “The people voted to break it up so I would imagine that’s what they’ll do. But maybe they’re taking a little bit of a different route. So I don’t know if that’s what they.” 

Police and a fire engine enter a closed off section of Regent’s Park surrounding the US Ambassador’s residence

Peter Macdiarmid/LNP 

The questioning of whether Leave voters in the 2016 referendum are really having their wishes met by the current Brexit strategy will not be helpful for Mrs May. 

Discussing protests, Mr Trump said: “Sure, there’ll be protests because there are always protests. Hey, there were protests the night of the [US 2016] election both ways.”

He added: “I believe that the people in the UK … like me a lot and they agree with me on immigration. And I think that’s why you have Brexit in the first place, because of immigration.”

Sources close to Mr Trump have told The Telegraph that he is a supporter of a hard Brexit and could publicly voice support for a clean break with Brussels in a move that would pile pressure on the Prime Minister.

Ahead of the visit, Mrs May said: “We have an opportunity to deepen this unique trading relationship and begin discussions about how we will forge a strengthened, ambitious and future-proof trade partnership.”

Video: Has the special relationship been damaged?

After spending the night at the US ambassador’s official residence in London’s Regent’s Park, Mr Trump will join the PM at a military base on Friday to observe a joint counter-terrorism exercise involving UK and US special forces.

The two leaders will hold talks at the Prime Minister’s country residence of Chequers where Russia, Brexit and the Middle East will top the agenda.

Mr Trump will then travel to Windsor Castle to meet the Queen before heading to Scotland for a private part of the four-day visit, ahead of travelling to Helsinki for a summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Nato is much stronger than it was two days ago, says Trump as he claims summit victory

Before Mr Trump left Brussels, Nato held an emergency session over his demands for higher spending on defence. 

In a Press conference, the president said the US “commitment to Nato remains very strong”.

Mr Trump said “tremendous” progress had been made on extra spending. “We made a tremendous amount of progress today,” he told reporters.

“The United States’ commitment to Nato remains very strong,” he said.

Speaking about countries’ contribution to Nato, Mr Trump told reporters: “Yesterday, I let them know I was extremely unhappy with what was happening and they have substantially upped their commitment.”

Nato was now “much stronger than it was two days ago”, he said. “I believe in Nato.”

Mr Trump said that Nato would soon discuss member defence spending at a higher level than the alliance’s target of two per cent of GDP.  “I think four per cent is the right number,” he said.

Video: Trump’s statement over Nato spending

Mr Trump insisted Nato leaders were now “putting up a lot” and it was “unnecessary” to pull the US out of the organisation.

He said Germany had agreed to increase “very substantially” the timescale for increasing funding.

“The people have stepped up today like they have never stepped up before,” he said.

Mr Trump said everybody in the room had thanked him, including secretary general Jens Stoltenberg, and described himself as a “very stable genius”.

Protests will need as many police as London riots

Opponents have threatened mass protests against the visit, but Mr Trump is expected to avoid areas such as central London where demonstrators could gather.

Protests over Mr Trump’s visit – which are being led by allies of Jeremy Corbyn – will require as many police officers as the London riots of 2011, the Metropolitan Police revealed. 

Tens of thousands of protesters, many said to be members of trade unions and Momentum, are expected to take to the streets. A 20ft-high blow-up caricature depicting Mr Trump as a baby – wearing a nappy and clutching a mobile phone – will fly near Parliament on Friday.

The Trump baby blimp that will fly near Parliament for two hours on Friday

Kirsty O’Connor /PA

The police operation for his trip is expected to cost at least £8million.

Asst Chief Constable Chris Shead, of the National Police Coordination Centre, said officers would be working 12-hour shifts.

He added: “Police forces are working together on a significant, multi-faceted security operation supporting the presidential visit… nearly all police forces in England and Wales are providing officers and resources.”

‘Prisoners have better accommodation’: Hundreds of police sleeping in gym during visit

Police securing Donald Trump’s visit to the UK are being forced to sleep in unacceptable conditions worse than cells, the organisation representing rank-and-file officers has said.

Pictures show cramped lines of camp beds filling a vast gymnasium and sleeping mats on the floor of a squash court for officers to rest on between long shifts policing the US President’s trip, starting on Thursday.

The Police Federation has complained of the conditions its members are facing during the operation, which will see officers from across the country enlisted.

Simon Kempton, the organisation’s deputy treasurer in England and Wales, said 300 officers are expected to sleep in the gymnasium with no hot water and restricted access to warm food.

“These officers have been asked to leave their families to travel to another part of the country to help protect the public and the president and all they expect in return is to be treated with some dignity and respect,” he said.

“What’s clear is that anyone overnight who has been arrested by the police would be put in accommodation far superior to what the officers are staying in.”

He said officers at that site are only averaging three to four hours’ sleep ahead of 15-hour shifts because of the conditions.

John Apter, chairman of the Hampshire Police Federation, wrote on Twitter: “Prisoners arrested last night will have had better accommodation than those police officers ensuring the Presidential visit runs smoothly.”

He said: “There’s so much pressure on officers at the moment. Many are having rest days cancelled, working extended hours and this on top of it; do the bosses really care?

“It hits morale. It’s tough at the moment, really tough and they don’t deserve this – it’s not right and it’s not acceptable.”

A National Police Chiefs’ Council spokeswoman said Essex Police are working “at speed” to resolve the issue.

“Some of the accommodation pictured today for officers supporting the major operation for the US presidential visit is not acceptable and below the standard of other accommodation for this operation,” she added.

Day-by-day: The US president’s itinerary in Britain

Donald Trump has a busy few days ahead of him as he arrives for his first visit to the UK as president. Here is a look at his itinerary.

  • Mr Trump will arrive into Stansted airport on Thursday at around lunchtime, fresh from the Nato summit in Brussels.
  • Mr Trump and First Lady Melania will have a meet and greet at the US Embassy in London.
  • The US president cancelled a planned visit to open the newly relocated embassy at the beginning of the year, saying the move from Grosvenor Square in the prestigious Mayfair district of central London to an what he described as an “off location” at Nine Elms, south of the Thames, was a “bad deal”.
  • The couple will attend a black-tie dinner at the Grade I-listed Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire hosted by Theresa May.
  • Other guests are set to include leaders from business sectors, celebrating the business links between the UK and US.
  • The menu for the dinner at Blenheim Palace includes Scottish salmon, English Hereford beef filet and vegetables, and strawberries and clotted cream ice cream.
  • Mr Trump and his wife will spend Thursday night at Winfield House in Regent’s Park, which is the US Ambassador’s residence in London.
  • Mr Trump will meet again with Mrs May for a visit to a defence site. Air restrictions have been put in place above the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
  • The pair will then travel to Chequers, the Prime Minister’s country residence, for what is being billed as “substantive bilateral talks on a range of foreign policy issues” during a working lunch.
  • The menu for the working lunch will consist of Dover sole, Chiltern lamb and vegetables, and lemon meringue pie.
  • A press conference is pencilled in for afterwards.
  • Mr Trump will meet the Queen at Windsor Castle.
  • The Queen and Mr Trump will inspect the Guard of Honour before watching the military march past.
  • Mr and Mrs Trump will also join the Queen for tea at the Castle.
  • Later in the evening Mr Trump will head to Scotland for the weekend. He will be welcomed by David Mundell, the Secretary of State for Scotland.
  • Mr Trump is believed to be spending the weekend playing golf at his Turnberry resort in South Ayrshire, which he bought in 2014, although there has been no official confirmation of his plans.
  • Mr Trump’s mother, the late Mary MacLeod Trump, was Scottish. She was born on the Isle of Lewis before emigrating to the US in the 1930s.
  • President Trump and the First Lady are expected to depart.

Helicopters, a motorcade and the nuclear ‘football’: Trump’s presidential entourage

Donald Trump will be accompanied by as many as 1,000 staff, a motorcade and multiple helicopters during his UK trip.

Here is what the presidential entourage is made up of:

Air Force One

The US leader will emerge from Air Force One – one of two specially modified Boeing 747-200s.

The luxurious aircraft, carrying the tail codes 28000 and 29000, are highly customised and can act as a mobile command centre in the event of an attack on the United States.

The words “United States of America”, the Seal of the President of the United States and the American flag are all visible on the outside of the plane, making it instantly recognisable.

The aircraft has 4,000 square feet of floor space, including a Presidential suite with a large office and conference room, a medical suite that can be used as an operating room and two food preparation galleys that can feed 100 people at a time.

Overseas trips see additional staff and security flown over on an Air Force C-32, which is a modified Boeing 757.

The Beast

The presidential motorcade, which includes two identical limousines, nicknamed The Beast, and other security and communications vehicles, is brought across by Air Force transport aircraft.

The Beast is a seven-seat black armoured limousine which reportedly costs two million US dollars (£1.5 million) and is designed to give Mr Trump the ultimate protection.

It can be turned into a sealed panic room with oxygen tanks, night-vision camera and reinforced steel plating said to be able to resist bullets, chemical attacks and bombs.

The Cadillac has Kevlar-reinforced tyres and steel rims that can keep the vehicle moving even if the tyres have been destroyed.

Bottles of the president’s blood type are carried on board in case of a medical emergency, and a satellite phone enables communication to be maintained from anywhere in the world.

As well as being able to defend the president, the car also features a host of attacking capabilities, such as a pump-action shotgun and a tear gas cannon.

Marine One

A number of presidential helicopters, either VH-3D Sea Kings or VH-60N White Hawks – which are known as Marine One when the president is on board – are also brought on overseas trips.

The Marine One helicopter is fitted with communications equipment, anti-missile defences and hardened hulls.

Staff and security personnel are ferried around in MV-22 Ospreys and CH-46s.


Staff typically involved in an overseas trip include Secret Service post-standers, military communications specialists and White House aides.

The president has at his side at all times a White House doctor and one of five rotating military aides who carry the nuclear “football” – equipped with communication tools and a book with prepared war plans.

There is always a group of 13 members of the press on such visits, including three wire reporters, two print reporters, four photographers, a three-person television crew, and a radio reporter.

Germany ‘controlled’ by Russian energy, says Trump

The US president used the Nato summit to launch fierce attack on Germany, saying it was “totally controlled” by Russia, as he ratcheted up demands for Nato allies to pay more for their collective defence.

Mr Trump accused Angela Merkel’s country of being “captive” to Russia because of its joint energy deals, including a proposed new gas pipeline.

He questioned why America was spending billions of dollars countering the Kremlin through Nato while European countries handed similar amounts to Russia in business deals.

Mr Trump also suggested that Nato’s 29 members should spend four per cent of their GDP on defence, double the two per cent target that all but a handful of countries already fail to meet.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, rebuked Donald Trump at the meeting of Nato leaders

Sean Gallup /Getty

The criticism drew a rebuttal from Mrs Merkel, who said Germany was “independent” and pointedly referred to her upbringing in the Soviet-controlled East.

The clash undermined the message of “strength and unity” that US officials had hoped would result from the twoday gathering in Brussels. 

But the worst fears of Nato officials – that Mr Trump would threaten to withdraw troops from Europe unless defence spending was increased – did not come to pass, with the president declining to issue the ultimatum when asked.

Trump to spend time playing golf in Scotland

Donald Trump is expected to increase the amount of time he has spent playing golf during his presidency when he spends the weekend at one of his Scottish courses.

The US president is due to touch down in Scotland on Friday night before travelling on to Turnberry, the famous South Ayrshire golf resort he bought in 2014.

There were reports earlier this year that diplomats had been tasked with finding a famous golfing partner for Mr Trump for a round at Turnberry, but no names have been confirmed.

So far, Mr Trump has spent 125 days at his golf properties during his presidency, according to NBC News, but the precise number of times he has actually played golf is difficult to track as trips have mainly been weekend private visits.

He last visited Turnberry in 2016 to reopen it after a £200 million refurbishment. At the time, he was the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and staff at the course wore caps with the message “made Turnberry great again” in a nod to his campaign slogan.

Donald Trump at the Trump International Golf Links course in Aberdeenshire in 2012

Andy Buchanan/AFP

It was his second golf course in Scotland after Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire, the construction of which was marred in controversy as he clashed with local residents, environmental campaigners and politicians.

The Balmedie course eventually opened in 2012 and was praised in golf circles, but its chances of hosting some of the major competitions Mr Trump wanted it to be associated with seemed remote.

That led to his surprise purchase of Turnberry in 2014, a historic course on the Open Championship rota which staged the famous 1977 “duel in the sun” between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus.

The deal had little of the controversy around his Aberdeenshire development, with questions only raised over the decision to change the name of the resort to TrumpTurnberry.

The former businessman said the name change aimed to make the course “more successful”, and was not intended to massage his ego.

Activists from Stand Up to Racism Scotland stage a protest at the Trump Turnberry resort

David Cheskin /PA

Turnberry staged the women’s Open in 2015 with Mr Trump in attendance, but as he stepped up the rhetoric in his US presidential campaign, the R&A – the governing body of golf – said the course will not be considered for holding the Open before 2022 at the earliest.

The first of a series of protests over the president’s latest visit was held outside Trump Turnberry on Wednesday.

Around a dozen activists from Stand Up to Racism Scotland (SUTR) brandished banners with the slogans “Trump not welcome” and “No to racism, no to Trump”.

Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/12/donald-trumps-visit-uk-president-arrive-theresa-may-pushes-post/

Check Also

The French village that is so rich the local will pay no taxes

State auditors have told a French village near the Spanish border that it is “too …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *