Staff at the American Embassy are in full preparation mode following the confirmation of US Ambassador to London Woody Johnson that President Trump will pay a flying visit to the UK in July.
Announcing the 13 July visit on Twitter, Ambassador Johnson said it was “all systems go” and that President Trump was “really looking forward to the visit”. For those anxious about the UK’s diminishing ‘special relationship’ with the US following the successful state visit of French President Macron to the US, he added: “The UK is very special to him [President Trump] and very special to America.”
While details of the visit are yet to be finalised, London will “definitely” be included on the itinerary, said Ambassador Johnson, despite London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s prediction of protests. Speaking to LBC, Ambassador Johnson said President Trump was “thick-skinned” enough to handle demonstrations.
The Ambassador conceded that President Trump’s views were not “in sync” with some British politicians, such as the London Mayor or the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, but added that they may change their opinion after they realise President Trump’s “potential to bring so much to the table, particularly during Brexit and after Brexit, on the prosperity agenda and the military agenda”.
The working visit will include a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May and the Ambassador added that President Trump, whose mother hailed from Scotland and was huge fan of The Queen, was eager for an audience with the British monarch. “I think he really wants to meet the Queen… he knows that the value-added of the royal family,” he told LBC’s Nick Ferrari.
Some commentators have speculated that, given President Trump’s affection for Scotland, a meeting may take place at Balmoral, but that is unlikely given that the Queen usually travels to the Scottish royal residence in early August.
Ambassador Johnson suggested President Trump’s combative style could be traced to his Scottish roots: “The Scots are tough and argumentative. All the things he brings to the table to the American people come from Scotland.”
An invitation for a full-blown ceremonial State Visit to the UK, including a stay at Buckingham Palace or Windsor still stands, said Ambassador Johnson, suggesting a date possibly in 2019.