White House denies Trump raised fears with May about state visit protests
The Guardian reported that the US president said he wanted to be sure he had the support of the British public before coming to the country.
The White House has denied reports that Donald Trump told Theresa May he does not want to go ahead with his controversial state visit to the UK if it is going to lead to large-scale demonstrations.
The Guardian reported that the US president said he wanted to be sure he had the support of the British public before coming to the country. His comments – effectively putting the visit on hold – were said to have been made in a telephone call in “recent weeks”.
The paper quoted a No 10 adviser “who was in the room” at the time as saying that Mrs May had been “surprised” by his remarks.
Asked about the report, a White House spokeswoman said: “The president has tremendous respect for Prime Minister May. That subject never came up on the call.”
Downing Street refused to comment, saying only that the invitation which was given by Mrs May on behalf of the Queen when she met Mr Trump in Washington just seven days after his inauguration, remained unchanged.
A spokesman said: “We aren’t going to comment on speculation about the contents of private phone conversations. The Queen extended an invitation to President Trump to visit the UK and there is no change to those plans.”
The decision to accord such a controversial president the honour of a state visit so soon after taking office was widely criticised at the time.
There was further criticism after Mr Trump attacked London Mayor Sadiq Khan over his response to the latest terror attacks on the capital.
When Mr Khan’s office said he had simply been saying people should not be alarmed by the additional police presence on the streets, Mr Trump accused him of making “pathetic excuses” prompting the mayor to call for the visit to be dropped.