London: US President Donald Trump will make his first state visit to the United Kingdom in June, Buckingham Palace said Tuesday.
The visit will take place from June 3 to June 5, the palace said in a tweet.
Trump’s previous trip to the UK in July 2018 was billed as a working visit, rather than a state occasion, which is a formal visit by a head of state at the invitation of the Queen, who acts on advice from the government.
During last year’s trip, Trump met with Prime Minister Theresa May and had tea with the Queen at Windsor Castle.
But the president ruffled feathers in the British establishment after he criticized May’s Brexit deal in tabloid newspaper the Sun and praised her recently-resigned Foreign Secretary — and potential leadership rival — Boris Johnson as a “very talented guy.”
In the interview, Trump said May “didn’t listen” to his views on how she should negotiate the UK’s exit from the European Union — an extraordinary criticism of a foreign leader during a trip to that leader’s country.
It made for an awkward follow-up press conference at the prime minister’s official country house, Chequers, where Trump accused the Sun of peddling “fake news” and offered an apology of sorts to May.
This year’s potential state visit is likely to come at a similarly delicate time for May’s Brexit negotiations. Her beleaguered withdrawal agreement with the European Union has already been defeated three times in the House of Commons amid deadlock among Members of Parliament.
The country has now been given a six-month extension on leaving the EU — its second delay to the original March 29 deadline.
If the UK hasn’t agreed to pass the withdrawal agreement or come up with an alternative plan by October 31 it will crash out of the bloc without a deal at all.
Given Trump’s track record for aggravating his British host’s domestic politics, the June visit could present new obstacles for May’s already weakened premiership.