Theresa May tries to save face over the latest Trump fiasco, and fails… spectacularly

may trump 1
Ben Janaway

Theresa May’s government has abandoned plans for US President Donald Trump to address parliament. The decision follows comments by John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, who told MPs that he was “strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall”. A petition to stop Trump visiting the UK also reached 1.8 million signatures. But despite public and parliamentary objection, Trump’s state visit will still go ahead. It will just happen when parliament is in recess to avoid the appearance of a ‘formal snub’.

Bercow said:

Before the imposition of the migrant ban I would myself have been strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall.

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After the imposition of the migrant ban by President Trump, I am even more strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall.

Tory MPs have mounted a coup attempt in response to Bercow standing up for women and immigrants. But even if the Speaker is ousted, Trump still looks set to encounter the biggest protest in British history, according to campaigners.

A president under fire

Trump’s short presidency has been mired in controversy. Amid rumours of psychological concerns, ‘pussy grabbing‘, and mass tweets, Trump has been very busy signing executive orders. The most controversial of those is his ‘travel ban’, blocking immigration from several Muslim-majority countries. Although currently suspended, the ban has raised concerns about Trump’s morality and competence. Many are cynical of Trump’s motives. Several note that the ban does not extend to countries in which Trump operates businesses.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has said:

Donald Trump should not be welcomed to Britain while he abuses our shared values with his shameful Muslim ban and attacks on refugees’ and women’s rights

Trump’s already historically low approval ratings have dropped even further since his botched attempt to implement his ‘Muslim ban’. This is despite approval for the ‘ban’ itself being favourable overall.

May ‘failing’ Britain

Although Number 10 has revealed that May does not agree with Trump’s ban, this is not the same thing as rebuking it. And May has received harsh criticism for her ‘appeasement’ of the US President.

Although some progress for the millions against Trump, this is nothing less than a failed attempt to save face by May’s government, which seems terrified of both Trump and the growing national discontent with him. By limiting visits to avoid protests, May is attempting to silence any action that may sour her personal relationship with Trump. And with a post-Brexit economy in the balance, May seems happy to ignore the rights of ordinary people in order to make a deal with Trump.

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Featured image via UK Home Office/Flickr and Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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