The White House confirmed that US president Donald Trump will visit Britain on July 13. But, far from the pomp and ceremony that we see from regular state visits, it’s believed that it will be a working trip that follows closely after his planned attendance of the NATO summit in Brussels.
However, if the president does carry out his visit, he’s going to have to face, head on, the very opposite of what he relishes—protests.
Earlier this year, Trump cancelled his original trip to London by citing a bit of fake news about his predecessor Barack Obama. However, it was touted that it was more likely the president decided to cancel the trip for other reasons—chief among them, the idea of facing significant protests. Even London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, said in a statement at the time that “many Londoners have made it clear that Donald Trump is not welcome here while he is pursuing such a divisive agenda.”
It looks like protestors haven’t forgotten. Over 30,000 people (at the time of writing) said they are going to a protest organized by left-wing journalist Owen Jones. Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s director, told the BBC that “when Donald Trump arrives on these shores, we and thousands of our supporters will very definitely be making our voices heard.”
Trump’s reaction to protests has been critiqued as a weak point in his leadership before. When it has come to protests, especially on cultural issues, he has used them to weaponize nationalism. He has also been criticized for sounding “like a spoilt child” after demanding a parade to aggrandize himself (paywall). Protests are a stark reminder that his approval outside the US is lacking as well.