President Donald Trump could make a state visit to the United Kingdom after the country departs the European Union next year, according to a recording obtained by British media.
British and American officials were heard discussing the plans in a documentary by the Channel 4 TV station.
Trump will arrive in Britain July 12 for a working visit the following day, but it will not be a state visit with the accompanying pomp and ceremony. Britain and the U.S. have a long-running “special relationship.” Queen Elizabeth II invited Trump for a state visit soon after he took office.
“Let’s plan for a series of visits in his first term,” says U.K. national security adviser Mark Sedwill in the audio. He spoke to U.S. Ambassador to Britain Woody Johnson at an event to open the new U.S. Embassy in London in March.
Sedwill said it would be “worth having him here” to coincide with events to remember World War II in May 2019. “The key thing is that we get him here,” he said.
He said he spoke to former national security adviser HR McMaster with a view to the trip being "the first big visit after Brexit.”
Britain voted at a referendum to leave the 28-member European Union two years ago and is set to depart the alliance March 29, 2019.
The announcement of Trump’s visit next month came after months of speculation over when he would step foot on British soil. The U.S. president is unpopular in Britain, and protesters have warned they will turn out in force when he arrives.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said this week that Trumps visit next month will go ahead as planned, amid outrage over the separation of children from their parents who illegally entered the U.S. border.
Trump signed a new executive order halting the separations, but the order does not explicitly address what happens to those who have already been separated.
In the British parliament this week, Scottish lawmaker Ian Blackford referred to the “deeply distressing audio and images” of children crying and being held in cages, and asked: “Is the prime minister still intending to roll out the red carpet for Donald Trump?”
“On the very important issue that he’s raised, of what we have seen in the United States, the pictures of children being held in what appear to be cages are deeply disturbing. This is wrong. This is not something we agree with. This is not the United Kingdom’s approach,” May replied, adding she would raise the issue with Trump during his visit.