It appears that President Trump will not receive a hero's welcome when he travels to the United Kingdom next week.
Tens of thousands of Brits are expected to turn out in the streets to denounce the president. Public protests are being organized in London, Scotland and elsewhere. More than 1.9 million U.K. residents signed petitions opposing the decision to honor Trump with an official state visit, which would feature a meeting with the queen. At last report, it was still unclear whether the president would get the royal invitation.
Among the creative ways that Brits plan to express their feelings is a 20-foot-high helium blimp portraying Trump as an infant with an orange head. The inflatable caricature is to be set aloft above Parliament if its creator, Leo Murray, receives permission.
The climate activist told NBC News: “Moral outrage has no effect on Trump because he has no shame; he’s immune to it. But he has a tremendously fragile ego, so ridicule is an effective form of protest. So we want to make sure he knows that all of Britain is looking down on him and laughing at him.”
Anti-Trump sentiment has spread across the U.K. due to his administration's policies concerning immigration, Muslims, trade, healthcare and other issues. In response to being so roundly rejected, the president has been reluctant to pay a visit. In January, he canceled plans to fly to London for the official opening of the U.S. Embassy.
Trump's schedule calls for him to sit down with British Prime Minister Theresa May on July 13. He might play golf at one of the two resorts he owns in Scotland. If the summit with the queen happens, it will be at Windsor Palace rather than her Buckingham Palace home. Officials cited security concerns. For the same reason, the Trump-May meeting could take place at the prime minister's country residence, 40 miles out of town, instead of at 10 Downing Street.
The president will probably go out of his way to avoid the hostile crowds. Christopher Meyer, former British ambassador to the United States, quipped that it is “unlikely he'll be strolling around Trafalgar Square.” Meyer added: “The easiest answer to avoiding demonstrators is using helicopters.”
The ambassador called Trump “a disruptor in diplomatic relations just as he is at home,” adding: “He is deeply controversial overseas, and anyone who bothers to read poll figures from the U.K. will see that public opinion of him in Britain is very low.”
In London, the Together Against Trump movement hopes to turn out as many as 100,000 demonstrators for a march ending at Trafalgar Square. The group's organizers include labor union leaders and human-rights advocates. Women's March activists are planning a Bring the Noise event in Parliament Square.
“Change for tolerance, justice and equality is no longer jurisdictional but global,” said Shola Mos-Shogbamimu of Women in Leadership. “We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. I cannot stand by and be complicit through silence as intolerance, injustice and discrimination shape hostile policies, laws and environments for many.”
Kirsty Haigh, an organizer with Scotland United Against Trump, declared: “We are going to show that his politics are not welcome here.” Andrea Mullaney plans to attend a protest in Glasgow, along with her 2-year-old son. “When you have a child that is the same age as those crying and being put in cages at the U.S. border, it makes you think how horrific that is and we have to make it clear that this kind of behavior is beyond the pale,” she told NBC News.
Mullaney continued: “The international community has got a role to play in showing that what Trump stands for is out of order. Besides, Scotland has been protesting Trump long before he was president. He has had business interests here and has shown that he doesn't care about the local environment.”
British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn suggested in a Sky News interview that Trump should postpone his visit because of the furor over his immigration policies. “I wouldn't have invited him, and I think the prime minister's got ample reasons to withhold the invitation if she wants to,” Corbyn explained. “We need to say very clearly to Donald Trump, 'We live in a multicultural society; we're proud of it. Get over it and start living in one yourself.'”
The Independent, a U.K. publication, reported that Trump has been “banned” from Sheffield, the country's fourth-largest city. “In this current climate of politics where fear and hate is widespread, the last thing we need is a world leader like Donald J. Trump being a spurting cesspit of hate, stoking divisions between communities while scapegoating minorities,” proclaimed Sheffield Lord Mayor Magid Magid.
He added: “We need now more than ever to come together in spite of our differences and empower everyone in our society, and collectively work towards building a future where love and tolerance prevail, and where everybody belongs.”