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Saturday 1 June 2019

donald trump

“London is like a war zone”

Ahead of his state visit to Britain, all of Trump’s insults in one place

By Ella Hill

The last time Donald Trump visited the UK, in July 2018, he caused quite a stir. Thousands of protesters took to the streets of London and Edinburgh. Some even pulled a blimp along with them, shaped like the President crossed with a baby.

And now, from Monday 3 June until Wednesday 5 June, Trump is returning to the UK. Unlike last year, this is a state visit – meaning that he’ll be greeted by the Queen for a full ceremonial wingding, as well as meeting Theresa May and other political leaders. The protesters are also likely to rise to the occasion. As the Labour MP Clive Lewis put it in April, “Dust off the blimp”:

There are many reasons why British people are angry with Trump; among them, the President’s unique brand of anti-diplomacy. We’ve collected some of his previous remarks about the UK, and supplemented it with a who’s-who guide to the incoming Trump clan for any Brits – or, indeed, anyone – who would like to know their Eric from their Don Jr


Sad! What Trump thinks about Britain

When? 2012 to 2013

What? Donald Trump waged a campaign against the construction of an offshore windfarm, which he claimed would spoil the view from his golf course on the Menie Estate, Aberdeenshire. Trump’s arguments were typically understated:

“This was a purely political decision as dictated by Alex Salmond, a man whose obsession with obsolete wind technology will destroy the magnificence and beauty of Scotland,” he said in a statement in March 2013.

He also sent a series of letters to Salmond, then First Minister. “With the reckless installation of these monsters, you will single-handedly have done more damage to Scotland than virtually any event in Scottish history,” he wrote in one.

In another, Trump told Salmond: “Your economy will become a third world wasteland that global investors will avoid.”

Trump took the Scottish government to court over the dispute, but lost the case in 2015.  

When? During a joint press conference with Theresa May on his last visit to the UK in July 2018.

What? Trump visited Scotland to reopen the Turnberry golf resort on 24 June 2016, the day after the Brexit referendum result. In his 2018 press conference with May, he claimed that that visit had actually been before then, and that he had therefore predicted the outcome:

“All they [the reporters] wanted to talk about was Brexit. And they asked for my opinion, and I think you will agree that I said I think Brexit will happen. And it did happen. And then we cut the ribbon.”

When? Donald Trump criticised May in an interview with The Sun during his visit to the UK in July 2018.

What? “I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me. She wanted to go a different route. I would actually say that she probably went the opposite way. And that is fine. She should negotiate the best way she knows how. But it is too bad what is going on.”

Donald Jr repeated the remarks in an opinion piece in the Telegraph in March: “Mrs May ignored advice from my father, and ultimately, a process that should have taken only a few short months has become a years-long stalemate, leaving the British people in limbo. […] With the deadline fast approaching, it appears that democracy in the UK is all but dead.”

When? 4 June 2017, in response to the terror attacks on London Bridge the day before.

What? The President decided to target his response not at the attackers, but at the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who had advised Londoners not to be alarmed at the increased police presence on the capital’s streets. Naturally, Trump took Khan’s remarks entirely out of context.

Trump returned to the argument in an interview with The Sun: “You have a mayor who has done a terrible job in London. He has done a terrible job. Take a look at the terrorism that is taking place. Look at what is going on in London. I think he has done a very bad job on terrorism.”

The response. David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, defended Khan:

When? At a National Rifle Association conference in Dallas, Texas in May 2018.

What? Trump used the example of knife crime in London as a reason for the defence of Americans’ second amendment rights:

“I recently read a story that in London, which has unbelievably tough gun laws, a once very prestigious hospital, right in the middle, is like a war zone for horrible stabbing wounds. Yes, that’s right, they don’t have guns, they have knives, and instead there’s blood all over the floors of this hospital. They say it’s as bad as a military war zone hospital. Knives, knives, knives.”

The response. Sarah Jones, MP for Croydon and chair of the all-party parliamentary group on knife crime:


When? March 2019

What? Donald Trump retweeted a status posted by William Craddick, co-founder of Disobedient Media, a right-wing news site that often publishes conspiracy theories. Craddick accused the UK of inventing claims that Russia interfered in US elections.


When? April 2019

What? Trump accused an arm of Britain’s intelligence services, GCHQ, of colluding with the Obama administration to spy on the Trump Campaign:



Covfefe! A guide to the Trump clan

Only two previous presidents have been afforded the honour of a state visit to the UK: George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Those two just brought their wives with them, but almost all of the Trump clan will accompany President Trump. Four of his children – Don Jr, Ivanka, Eric and Tiffany – are coming, along with their spouses. Here’s what the Trump kids have been up to since their dad took office:

Don Jr, Caretaker of the Trump Organization

May was a big month for Don Jr. He was subpoenaed by the US Senate’s Intelligence Committee and he signed a book deal. The two events rather sum up his place in the Trump operation. Before the election, he was the one who met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer who claimed to have some damaging information about Hillary Clinton – which provoked even more allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian state. Since the election, he’s been almost as outspoken as his father, not just thanks to his lucrative side-hustle as a public speaker ($50,000 a pop), but also because he’s effectively taken on the role of Troll-in-Chief on Twitter. He may even look to emulate Trump Sr in a different way: he’s already positioning himself for a political career.


Ivanka, the “First Daughter” of the United States

Ivanka has inherited something of Donald Trump’s business acumen. A decade ago, she founded a jewellery line and then a clothing brand – both folded last year. In politics, she has been one of the main players in the Trump administration from the very start. Both she and her husband, Jared Kushner, have West Wing offices and high-level security clearances; and her father has also, by his own admission, considered her to head the World Bank or to be the US ambassador to the UN. It was once thought that her closeness to the President would civilise his policies, perhaps putting women’s rights on the agenda. But this hasn’t happened. She seems to be in the curious position of wielding lots of influence and none at the same time.


Eric, runs the family business with Don Jr

Just like his older brother, Eric Trump is a man facing questions. He has a charitable foundation in his own name, which was meant to contribute money to children’s cancer care – but it was discovered that a lot of money actually went towards Trump-family enterprises. Since 2016, he seems to have mostly concentrated on some of those enterprises, as well as becoming a father (with a second child on the way) and growing a beard. Don’t worry, though: his father reassures us that Eric is “also very much into politics”.


Tiffany, a socialite and law student

Tiffany is the only child from Donald Trump’s second marriage, making Don, Eric and Ivanka her half-siblings. She’s stayed out of the picture for the most part, instead dividing her time between Georgetown University, where she is studying law, and London, where her boyfriend Michael Boulos is based. We don’t really yet know whether she has political ambitions – perhaps a second Trump term would give us an answer.