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Trump's trip to the United Kingdom has many hallmarks of a state visit

16 July 2018
Trump's trip to the United Kingdom has many hallmarks of a state visit

PALACE, England, July 12 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May made a determined pitch to Donald Trump for a post-Brexit trade deal with the United States on his first trip to Britain on Thursday, but the US president nearly immediately cast doubts on her hopes.

"If they do a deal like that, it will most likely, because we'll be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the United Kingdom, so it will probably kill the deal", Trump said.

Extra security has been put in place for the visit, Trump's first visit to Britain since becoming president in 2016, with large-scale protests expected. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis had quit over May's proposal to retain a strong trade relationship with the European Union.

"The President likes and respects Prime Minister May very much", Sanders said. "No, if they do that, I would say that that would probably end a major trade relationship with the United States".

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has granted permission for a giant inflatable figure depicting Trump as a baby to fly over Westminster for two hours on the second day of the president's visit.

"She has got a great and handsome grace about her", Trump said in the interview, which took place in Brussels Wednesday morning but was published Thursday night. Marchers gathered in central London before walking through the centre of the city to Parliament - where earlier the 20-foot (six meter) baby blimp hovered overhead.

The U.S. leader also said he was "very saddened" to see Britain's top diplomat leave government and said he hoped Johnson "goes back in at some point".

"Now, as we prepare to leave the European Union, we have an unprecedented opportunity to do more".

P-BRITAIN.jpg

Dishing up a fresh dose of chaos on his European tour, President Donald Trump left behind a contentious North Atlantic Treaty Organisation gathering in Brussels and moved on to Britain, where a pomp-filled welcome ceremony was soon overshadowed by an interview in which Trump blasted Prime Minister Theresa May, blamed London's mayor for terror attacks against the city and argued that Europe was "losing its culture" because of immigration.

On Friday, Trump will bypass the mass protests in London as he heads to May's country residence, Chequers, for bilateral talks, to be followed by tea with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle in the afternoon.

Although 10 Downing Street and the White House are not calling Trump's an official state visit, merely a "working visit", the first couple will still witness a bit of fanfare on their first night at Blenheim Palace, the fabled 18th century estate, with its 187 rooms.

Trump said May "didn't listen" to his views on how she should negotiate Brexit, but that was "fine". "So I think that's the effect the balloon will have".

Trump attended the summit, where he provoked a crisis session to force allies to raise their defence spending.

On Friday, May and Trump will hold talks, expected to focus on Brexit and Russian Federation, at the prime minister's Chequers country residence followed by a press conference.

Picture: AAPUS President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive in London for a four day visit to the UK. His late mother hailed from Scotland, and he owns two luxury golf courses there.

The bulk of the activity will take place in London, where people plan to gather first in Regent's Park outside of the USA ambassador's house on Thursday and again across central London for a series of protests throughout the day on Friday.