‘Excited’ Donald Trump won’t be ‘intimidated’ by protests during state visit, US ambassador says | Politics News

Donald Trump is “excited” about his upcoming state visit to Britain and will not be “intimidated” by any demonstrations during his trip, the US ambassador to the UK has told Sky News.

Woody Johnson also rejected suggestions the trip – which comes less than a year after the 45th president flew over for a working visit – was a waste of time and taxpayers’ money.

He said: “The more time you spend in a country and talking to people and that, the better.

“Especially since our countries are so closely aligned that frequent trips are good and it’s good to communicate with each other and see each other face to face and get a continued feel for what’s happening in Britain.”

Earlier, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said the 3-5 June trip risked being a “giant waste of taxpayers’ cash”.

Queen Elizabeth stands with Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, in the Grand Corridor during their visit to Windsor Castle
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2018: The Queen poses with Mr Trump and First Lady Melania

But Mr Johnson rejected this, saying: “My reaction is I don’t know where that came from, but no, it’s never a colossal waste of anything to talk to your allies and talk to your friends and talk to your biggest business partner.”

Prime Minister Theresa May hailed the trip an opportunity for the two nations “to strengthen our already close relationship”, while the White House said it would “reaffirm the steadfast and special relationship” between the US and UK.

However, mass demonstrations against Mr Trump and some of his policies are likely.

“I think the president is not going to be intimidated or influenced by demonstrations if there are any,” Mr Johnson said when asked about the prospect of widespread protests.

“My own view is that the relationship between our two countries is very important for both of us, so having the president here is very beneficial for the British people and everything that our relationship represents, which is all positives.

US ambassador Woody Johnson speaks during a press preview at the new United States embassy building
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Mr Johnson said ‘having the president here is very beneficial for the British people’

“Rest assured, this country is very important to the president. His mother was born here, so he wants to keep you as allies and keep that relationship alive, well and prospering and growing.”

Further details of the programme for Mr Trump’s visit will be announced in due course.

But the White House has already confirmed that the president will meet with the Queen and hold talks with Mrs May.

Mrs May and Mr Trump will then attend the D-Day events in Southsea Common, Portsmouth, before going to Normandy for further commemorative events.

Such occasions often include the visiting head of state addressing both Houses of Parliament, but Commons Speaker John Bercow said in 2017 that Mr Trump should not be allowed to make a formal address.

Mrs May and Mr Trump shake hands at Chequers
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Mr Trump held talks with the PM when he visited last year

Lord Fowler, Mr Bercow’s counterpart in the House of Lords, has said there is a “strong case” for the US president being afforded such an honour.

When asked if Mr Trump should be allowed to address Parliament, Mr Johnson sidestepped the issue.

He said: “I think I’ll leave that to the president.

“I think he’s going to work on broader issues in terms of the relationship, the security and prosperity of our two nations.

“He’s going to be here, he’s devoting three days to being over here, that’s a major time commitment. But I think it’s an important one.”

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