Expert Comment: Donald Trump state visit

Dr Andrew Moran, Acting Head of International Relations and Politics, offers his insight into President Donald Trump's state visit to the United Kingdom, on 3 June 2019.

Date: 03 June 2019

"There is a certain degree of synchronicity that arguably the most divisive president in recent memory is visiting Britain at a time of intense political difficulties. Traditionally, a US president would be expected to keep his counsel, but this is no ordinary president. He has criticised the Prime Minister for allowing the EU to ‘have all the cards in negotiations’; suggested Nigel Farage be part of future Brexit talks; and even backed Boris Johnson as a future PM.

"That’s not forgetting that as he flew into Stansted, he tweeted that the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan was a ‘stone cold loser’. Somehow, that puts in the shade President Obama’s much criticised statement that Britain would go to the back of the queue if it left the EU."

Climate change, Huawei ban and Iran

"There are also differences of opinion on policy. Potential flash points include: disagreements over climate change; how best to deal with Iran, given that the USA has pulled out of the agreement to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, something Britain has not; and Britain’s decision to consider allowing Chinese firm Huawei to supply ‘non-core’ components of the 5G network, as the US has blacklisted Huawei citing security concerns.

"Unsurprisingly, the Trump baby will be floating over London and demonstrations are planned. Though Trump has tested the ‘special relationship’, in reality Britain needs to be on good relations with the USA. Not least, assuming the UK leaves the EU in October, it will need a quick trade deal with the USA (in which the USA will most definitely ‘have all the cards’), and as a key member of NATO, Britain has an important role in keeping the USA within the alliance, despite Trump’s criticisms.

"This promises to be a three day visit like no other. Expect turbulence."