Theresa May welcomes US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump to Blenheim Palace on the first day of his UK visit.
The Trumps landed at Stansted Airport, Essex, at 13:50 BST before a helicopter took them to Winfield House in Regent’s Park, where they are staying as guests of the US ambassador. He was met at the airport by dignitaries including International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and US ambassador Woody Johnson.
The black tie dinner held at Blenheim Palace aka the ancestral home of former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, with 150 invited guests including cabinet ministers and business leaders. Protesters gathered in London upon the President’s arrival, with Police estimating there were more than 1,000 demonstrating.
Mr Trump, who will also spend time with the Queen during his two day working visit, said earlier of the British public: “I think they agree with me on immigration. You see what’s going on throughout the world with immigration, I think that’s why Brexit happened.”
He said “Brexit is Brexit” and the British people “voted to break it up, so I imagine that’s what they’ll do but maybe they’re taking a different route – I don’t know if that is what they voted for”. Mr Trump has recently been under fire for his own immigration policy, which resulted in the separation of immigrant families..
His visit is expected to focus on post Brexit trade, and comes days after Mr Trump said the UK was in political “turmoil” after coming to the UK from the Nato summit in Brussels, where he said member countries have agreed to increase their military spending.Trump criticised UK defence spending and has prior shown no enthusiasm for coming to visit. In the 18 months of his presidency, Mr Trump had chosen to visit 17 other countries first.
Mrs May said the UK visit would be an opportunity to boost trade links and strengthen co-operation on security. Along with trade and security ties, Downing Street said the other key areas to be discussed between the two leaders included Brexit and the Middle East.
Ahead of Mr Trump’s visit, Mrs May said that when the UK leaves the European Union “there will be no alliance more important in the years ahead”.
And as working visits go, it is on the minimal side: and the diplomatic aim will be to get through the visit without any gaffes, without upsetting the president, and without him saying anything disobliging about Brexit or a future trade deal.
The UK and the US do have a good relationship at an institutional level, in the fields of defence, security and intelligence. The tricky bit is always the politics and the personalities.