Downing Street has rebuffed calls for the upcoming state visit from U.S. President Donald Trump to be cancelled on the grounds it would undo all the work Prime Minister Theresa May did while in Washington. Meanwhile, the petition to ban Trump has reached 1.7 million signatures and Parliament has scheduled a debate on the issue for Monday, February 20.
The Telegraph reported this morning that plans for the visit are still on and logistics being discussed. Per the article:
Diplomats have already begun preparations for a visit designed to reinvigorate the transatlantic special relationship.
Discussions are underway about the president playing a round of golf on the private nine-hole course at Balmoral while the Queen looks on.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are also set to be involved as the royal family rolls out the red carpet for the US President and his First Lady.
Mr Trump’s team want to create a photograph opportunity to rival the famous images of President Ronald Reagan horse riding with the Queen at Windsor Castle when he visited in the 1982.
Other plans include a personal tour of the Churchill War Rooms from Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, and dinner at Blenheim Palace, where Sir Winston was born.
If the Queen were to agree it would make a break in protocol because the Queen traditionally goes on holiday to her Scottish castle in August.
I’m genuinely surprised to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge mentioned by name at this phase and I wonder from which side of the pond that intel comes. As I mentioned on Sunday, in the flurry of news over the implications of this visit, tweets that Trump wrote back in 2012 surfaced, which laid the blame for topless photos of the Duchess on holiday being published by French publication, Closer, on Kate herself. On the campaign trail, news also came out that Trump had tried to date William’s late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales after her divorce.
Thus, whether or not the visit is awkward, the reporting of it will certainly be sensational, dredging up two narratives I’m sure the Royal Family would rather avoid. If this visit does go forward, I would strongly suggest William and Kate be allowed to absent themselves.
I have wondered, though, whether Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, would join the president. Ivanka and Kate are both 35, have young children and play similar roles in their extended family. A photo-op between the two couples would be a more palatable side step and one for which the media would go nuts.