State banquet and angry tweets on day one of Trump visit
US President dines with the Queen and attacks Sadiq Khan as he arrives in UK
President Donald Trump praised the “eternal friendship” between the UK and US on day one of his three-day visit to the UK.
During a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, the US president praised the Queen as a “great, great woman” who embodied “the spirit of dignity, duty, and patriotism that beats proudly in every British heart”.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was not present, having decided to boycott the banquet. Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable and Commons Speaker John Bercow also stayed away.
Earlier, his official welcome at the Palace included royal gun salutes fired from nearby Green Park and from the Tower of London. Trump and his wife Melania were greeted by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.
He also visited Westminster Abbey, where he laid a wreath at the grave of the Unknown Warrior.
The trip had got off to a rocky start, as Trump launched an attack on the mayor of London as he arrived in the UK. Within moments of his plane landing, he tweeted that Sadiq Khan was a “stone cold loser”.
The Guardian says the that by the time he arrived at Buckingham Palace, however, he was “wreathed in smiles”. There, it continues, “two dynasties, one ancient, one fledgling” dined together.
However, according to The Times, Trump “stepped out on to the Palace lawn from his helicopter with the stiff awkwardness of a long demobbed Action Man figure... The Queen turned Donald Trump into a schoolboy on best behaviour”. Referring to the pair's handshake, it said: “it was almost dainty”.
The Daily Telegraph says the Royal Family deployed their most charming hosting skills for America’s “First Family”. The BBC focused on the benefits for Trump back home, saying: “He gets the pictures and the pageantry that he wants and will look good in his re-election campaign next year, and he gets to pick a fight with a liberal, Muslim politician that will play well with his base.”
Sky News wondered what the purpose of the trip was, pointing out that Trump has arrived in “a politically divided country where Brexit remains unresolved and the prime minister about to leave office”.
It adds: “The timing is bad. The big deals can't be done. Diplomatic initiatives will be hampered by the absence of anyone in charge. It's hard to see this as much more than a lavish holiday for Mr Trump.”
The Independent says Downing Street has been accused of “lazy sexism” after Theresa May gave the US President a gift of a historical artefact recalling the Second World War alliance, while his wife Melania received a tea set.
As for Trump himself, he reflected on his first day in the UK saying he thought things were going “really well”.