President Donald Trump has called off state visits to the UK until the British people are prepared to meet him with open arms.
The commander-in-chief told UK prime minister Theresa May in a phone call that he didn’t want to visit the UK if there were going to be large-scale protests against him – likely meaning his visit will be indefinitely postponed.
The call was made at some point in recent weeks, shocking the British leader an insider close to her told The Guardian.
The source said they were present in 10 Downing Street – the prime minister’s official office – when the call came through.
May was the first foreign leader to visit Trump in the White House when she made an appearance in DC just seven days after his inauguration.
She extended a formal invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to Trump during that visit, and told press she was ‘delighted that the president has accepted that invitation’.
But there has been very little public talk about Trump visiting the country.
Some of May’s advisors told her that the offer was premature and should have been ‘put back a bit’ in the wake of his controversial Muslim travel ban, but could not be rescinded once made.
Trump’s relationship with the British public has been highly strained for years – particularly in Scotland, where his golf developments have upset locals.
But things have become considerably worse since he became president.
Most recently, he attacked the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack on London Bridge.
Trump tweeted that Khan had told people ‘not to be alarmed’ in the wake of the attacks – but he ignored the context that Khan was talking about the increased police presence, not the attacks themselves.
After Khan dismissed the remarks, saying he had better things to do, Trump doubled down, saying Khan had to ‘think fast’ to come up with his ‘pathetic excuse’ of a response.
The response from the British public was strong, with UK politicians and even Harry Potter author JK Rowling taking Trump to task online.
And in February, a petition to the British Parliament signed by more than 312,000 people triggered a debate on whether Trump should be allowed to visit.
The petition read in part: ‘Donald Trump’s well-documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by the Queen or the Prince of Wales.
‘Therefore during the term of his presidency Donald Trump should not be invited to the United Kingdom for an official state visit.’
Anti-Trump protesters gathered outside the parliament building calling for him to be banned, while inside politicians likened him to a ‘petulant child’ – though both May and her supporters were adamant that a visit should go ahead.
The animosity felt towards Trump by the British people is likely to be a thorn in the president’s side.
An Anglophile who has long boasted of his British heritage – his mother, Mary-Anne Trump, was born in Tong, Scotland – Trump longs for acceptance from the country.