U.S. President Donald Trump met Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on Monday after he kicked off his state visit to Britain by branding the London Mayor a “loser” and weighing in on the Brexit debate.
With the sound of a 41-gun royal salute ringing across the lawn from nearby Green Park, the Queen welcomed Mr. Trump and his wife Melania before they were treated to a military guard of honour.
The monarch later hosted a private lunch for the couple and showed them the royal art collection, ahead of a glittering state banquet in the evening.
But the day began with controversy as, even before his plane touched down, the President lambasted London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has been highly critical of the red carpet welcome. Mr. Trump called the mayor a “stone cold loser”, adding: “Khan reminds me very much of our very dumb and incompetent Mayor of NYC, (Bill de Blasio, who has also done a terrible job — only half his height”.
“In any event, I look forward to being a great friend to the United Kingdom.”
Mr. Trump’s three-day visit comes at a difficult time for Britain, with Prime Minister Theresa May due to step down within weeks over her handling of her country’s exit from the EU.
Support for Boris
Mr. Trump weighed in on the divisive issue at the weekend, declaring that former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson would make an “excellent” new Premier. In a round of British newspaper interviews, he also recommended Ms. May’s successor walk away from talks with Brussels, refuse to pay Britain’s agreed divorce Bill and leave the EU with no deal.
The U.K.-U.S. ‘special relationship’ is already under strain over different approaches to Iran, the use of Chinese technology in 5G networks, climate change, and Mr. Trump’s personal politics. Labour’s Mr. Khan has led opposition to Mr. Trump’s trip, writing a newspaper article on Sunday in which he compared the U.S. leader to European dictators from the 1930s and 1940s. “Donald Trump is just one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat,” he wrote.
Mr. Khan’s spokesman called Mr. Trump’s tweets “childish” and “beneath the President of the U.S.”