British prime minister's office denies Trump delay in state visit
The Guardian newspaper reported on Sunday that U.S. president Donald Trump had requested a postponement in his state visit to Great Britain, scheduled for sometime in October.
The request, according to the Guardian sources, came in a telephone call from the president to Prime Minister May last month.
The US president said he did not want to come if there were large-scale protests and his remarks in effect put the visit on hold for some time.
The call was made in recent weeks, according to a Downing Street adviser who was in the room.
The statement surprised May, according to those present.
The conversation in part explains why there has been little public discussion about a visit.
May invited Trump to Britain seven days after his inauguration when she became the first foreign leader to visit him in the White House. She told a joint press conference she had extended an invitation from the Queen to Trump and his wife Melania to make a state visit later in the year and was "delighted that the president has accepted that invitation".
Many senior diplomats, including Lord Ricketts, the former national security adviser, said the invitation was premature, but impossible to rescind once made.
But both the White House and the P.M.'s office are denying the report, saying the trip is still on.
Prime Minister Theresa May's office said on Sunday there had been no change to plans for U.S. President Donald Trump's to come to Britain on a state visit, after the Guardian newspaper reported the trip had been postponed.
The paper, citing an unnamed adviser at May's Downing Street office who was in the room at the time, reported Trump had told May by telephone in recent weeks that he did not want to come if there were likely to be large-scale protests.
"We aren't going to comment on speculation about the contents of private phone conversations," a spokeswoman for May's office said. "The queen extended an invitation to President Trump to visit the UK and there is no change to those plans."
The White House had no immediate comment on the report.
No date has been set for the visit, which was agreed during May's visit to Washington in January, but British media had reported it was planned for October.
Trump has come under fire in Britain this month for his public criticism of London Mayor Sadiq Khan's response to an attack by Islamist militants in London, in which eight people were killed. May found herself forced to defend Khan, who is from the opposition Labour party.
Does anyone believe that Trump would cancel a state visit because of the possibility of protests? Obviously, whoever concocted this story doesn't know the president very well.
This may have been a trial balloon sent up by May loyalists who are trying to fend off challenges to May's leadership from inside the Conservative Party. No doubt the British press would react favorably to a Trump cancelation, which could strengthen her position going into a party meeting this week.
But that sort of thinking is delusional. May is more than likely to lose her job in the coming weeks, even if she can cobble together a majority with the Irish Unionists Party. One sign of trouble is that the queen's speech to Parliament outlying the government's legislative program has been delayed a few days. It's unclear how the Conservative Party program will be affected by their alliance with the Unionists, which means that their legislative plans are up in the air.
It's becoming less likely that Trump will be meeting with Theresa May when he sets foot on British soil in October.