DONALD TRUMP ARRIVES in Britain today for his first visit as US president, flying into a whirlwind of protests against him and political turmoil over Brexit.
The four-day trip, which will include talks with Prime Minister Theresa May, tea with Queen Elizabeth II and a private weekend in Scotland, is set to be greeted by a mass protest in London tomorrow, which will include a balloon showing Trump as an angry baby.
Despite a series of diplomatic spats between Britain and Trump, the British government is hoping for a quick trade deal with the US after it leaves the European Union.
“When we leave the European Union we will begin to chart a new course for Britain in the world and our global alliances will be stronger than ever,” May said ahead of Trump’s visit.
“There is no stronger alliance than that of our special relationship with the US and there will be no alliance more important in the years ahead,” the British leader said.
US ambassador to the UK, Woody Johnson, has said a deal will be “a major priority” for Trump, calling Brexit “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change direction”.
Trump flies in after the NATO summit in Brussels and leaves Britain on Sunday for talks in Helsinki the following day with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Britain “is in somewhat turmoil”, Trump said before departing Washington, remarking that dealing with Putin might surprisingly be the easiest part of the European trip.
“The UK certainly has a lot of things going on,” he said, referring to the resignations of Britain’s Brexit and foreign ministers over the government’s plan for ties with the European Union after it leaves the bloc in March.
“There’s always turmoil in every country but no, no, I think the UK is proceeding as it always does,” he told BBC radio.
“We’re extremely confident in the ability of the UK to plough through this issue with Brexit and move on,” he said.
On the planned protests, the ambassador said that Trump appreciated free speech and dismissed as “irrelevant” a giant balloon of Trump depicted as a crying baby in nappies which will fly next to the British parliament on Friday.