Trump should not have been invited to meet the Queen but it’s too late to cancel the visit now.

Donald Trump has been invited to visit the United Kingdom for a State visit. This means horse-drawn carriages through Whitehall, troops of Household Cavalry on parade, and a glittering state banquet with the reality TV President sitting at the head of the table next to the Queen.

Downing Street confirmed this morning that the visit would go ahead despite the extraordinary Presidential decree banning nationals of seven countries visiting, or returning to, the USA.

There is a petition on the UK Parliament website urging the Government not to invite him to make a State visit on the grounds that “it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen.”

I signed the petition yesterday, but on reflection I think I was wrong to do so.

The invitation should never have been issued to Mr Trump, at least certainly not so early in his term of office. Although four recent American Presidents (Reagan, George W Bush, Clinton and Obama) made State visits, the tradition is a relatively new one. There were none for Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, or George Bush Senior. Moreover, of those who did come, none did so within less than a year of taking office, as Trump now plans to do.

Reagan’s visit was in 1982, two years after his election.

Clinton: 1995, after three years.

George W. Bush: 2003, after three years.

Obama: 2011, after three years.

Why the haste to confer the honour upon Mr Trump? It has nothing to do with the qualities of the President and everything to do with the evident desperation of the British Government to announce a trade deal with the USA as soon as it possibly can.

The Government would do well to have learned at least one lesson from Mr Trump’s book The Art of the Deal:

The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you’re dead.”

It would have been far better to treat Trump in the same way as his immediate predecessors Obama or George W. Bush, and to make him wait at least three years, with the possibility, if he proved as lamentable a president as he is turning out to be, not to invite him at all. Instead Mrs May has fawned over him like a whipped Labrador – it would be tempting and only a little unfair to use Mr Trump’s phrase “come onto him like a bitch” – conveying the impression that she will do almost anything to please him, damaging both her bargaining position and her dignity in the process.

The online petition predates the President’s latest decree. The reason given on the website for not inviting him in the first place is this:

Donald Trump’s well documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by Her Majesty the Queen or the Prince of Wales. Therefore during the term of his presidency Donald Trump should not be invited to the United Kingdom for an official State Visit.”

Yesterday morning it had about 30,000 signatures. At the time of writing, such is the disgust over the decree that it is heading towards and no doubt well above 1,000,000. But it’s a bit late “not to invite” Mr Trump. The invitation has gone out and no doubt now sits on his mantelpiece above the Churchill bust, where it will shortly be joined by an invitation from Mr Putin.

Despite the wording of the petition, most of the signatories have not signed because of a sudden concern about Mr Trump’s “misogyny and vulgarity.” His pussy-grabbing demonstrates his misogyny, and in every conceivable respect he would qualify for the put-down a courtier once snootily applied to Fergie: “vulgar, vulgar, vulgar.”

His sexual posturing has not been restricted to “locker room talk,” and worse still it has directly involved a senior member of the Royal Family. In 2012 paparazzi snapped and sold pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing naked while on a private beach in the South of France. According to Mr Trump it was she, and she alone, who was to blame:

Kate Middleton is great but she shouldn’t be sunbathing in the nude – only herself to blame.

Not content with blaming the Duchess, he expressed his admiration of the photographer and those who had made money out of the pictures:

Who wouldn’t take Kate’s picture and make lots of money if she does the nude sunbathing thing. Come on Kate!

Given the way in which the late Princess Diana – “I only have one regret in the women department – that I never had the opportunity to court Lady Diana Spencer. I met her on a number of occasions.” – was hounded by paparazzi Mr Trump may need all his well-hidden diplomatic skills to explain that one away over the Windsor Castle teacups.

Putting up with unspeakable guests and cosying up to dictators is, of course, all part of the job of being a Royal.

Her Majesty has often had to swallow her scruples along with her Filet de Turbot à l’Amiral and to think of her duty to the perceived national interest while chewing on the Balmoral Estate Longe de Venaisson d’Ecosse Rôtie au Sauce Périgueux. If she did otherwise she would never have made it to the Entremet au Chocolat, Mangue et Citron Vert at the State Banquet with Chinese dictator Xi Jinping in 2015.

Over the years, she has had to offer a warm Royal welcome to some seriously dodgy characters. One of the worst was Nicolae Ceausescu, the Romanian tyrant who was invited because he had expressed an interest, oddly enough, in a trade deal: specifically a £150M aircraft building programme. The Queen was apparently unenthusiastic about having the Ceausescus to stay, not least because President Giscard D’Estaing had warned her that “light fingered Nic” was not to be trusted with the antiques after his entourage removed many of the fittings from the expensive Paris hotel in which he had stayed. She ordered his rooms to be stripped of anything valuable before he arrived, and then spent much of his visit trying to avoid bumping into him any more than protocol demanded, at one point even concealing herself behind a bush in the palace gardens to avoid the need to make small-talk. In the end it was all to no avail. The deal was signed but Romania ran out of cash to pay. Instead Ceausescu apparently offered to pay in strawberries. Needless to say, when the promised fruit arrived it was rotten.

Saudi potentates and African dictators have all been fairly regular State visitors, many of them with blood dripping from their hands all over the Windsor carpets.

In 2003 The Queen put up Vladimir Putin. At the time the Russian leader had not completely got into his stride of invading his neighbours (if you overlooked the obliteration of Grozny, of course) and murdering his political opponents with radioactive substances – indeed there were still faint hopes that he was a democrat at heart – and the Queen shared a carriage ride down the Mall with him. Her concern was not primarily that he was a singularly wicked and unpleasant man but that she kept confusing him with Andrew Marr. It was not Her Majesty’s fault that relations with Russia have steadily deteriorated ever since.

Anyway, whilst it is true that it is the Royal Family’s job to put up the most unpleasant guests, it is not true that those guests are always well-chosen or that good always comes from indulging them.

So there were plenty of reasons to be cautious about inviting Mr Trump at all, and even more reasons not to invite him to pay a State visit more quickly than any US President in history.

Nevertheless, to revoke Mr Trump’s invitation now would be an extraordinary thing to do. For the sake of a gesture it would shatter at a stroke any hope of forging a “personal relationship” between the Prime Minister and the President, and nasty man though he is, such a relationship could well be of help to Britain in the difficult days that lie ahead. Given Mr Trump’s famously thin skin the snub of publicly cancelling the event might have consequences far more damaging to British interests than a few rude Presidential tweets. A refusal to engage in trade negotiations would be the least we could expect in retaliation from such an unpredictable narcissist. Moreover, it would open the United Kingdom to perfectly justifiable charges of hypocrisy; for all his faults Mr Trump has not committed crimes on the scale of Ceausescu or Putin, and for all his singularly tasteless comments about women in general and members of the Royal Family in particular, he does not preside over a country, like Saudi Arabia, in which discrimination against women is deeply embedded in law. Why, Americans could legitimately ask, do you exclude our President while entertaining the King of a country in which women can be stoned to death for adultery?

But Mrs May made a terrible mistake in rushing to invite this repulsive buffoon to meet the Queen, and she will now pay dearly for it. At a stroke she has thrown away one of her few high value cards and she has seemingly done so for no reward at all. The visit was announced while Mrs May was in Washington. No sooner had she left the country than the President announced his dreadful “anti-muslim” entry rules. The effect was to leave the Prime Minister looking without influence, embarrassed and humiliated.

It is, realistically, now too late to revoke the invitation. We shall just have to demonstrate when he arrives, and let him know that he is not particularly welcome. The Queen should put him in the Ceausescu suite.

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Author: Matthew

I have been a barrister for over 25 years, specialising in crime. You may also have come across some of my articles I have written on legal issues for The Times, Standpoint, Daily Telegraph or Criminal Law & Justice Weekly

32 thoughts on “Trump should not have been invited to meet the Queen but it’s too late to cancel the visit now.”

  1. So he’s lamentable because he’s doing what he said he was going to do,he’s a mysoginist,yet there is no comment on the alleged rapist Clinton? Do me a favour.

    1. He’s lamentable becaue what he said he was going to do was lamentable when he said it. That other US presidents had their faults is neither here nor there.

      1. Obama sent Cuban refugees back to Castro’s regime and refused entry to a British Muslim family hoping to go to DisneyWhereever.

        While the fact “That other US presidents had their faults is neither here nor there”, as Trump has not, contrary to the hysterical reaction, even banned Muslims with dual British/banned citizenship, and Carter banned Iranians, could you please confirm confirm whether Trump is more, less, or equally lamentable to Obama, and to Carter?!.

  2. If you want to understand Donald Trump and his character type, read about high functioning autism. I am a credible witness to this argument, as I was a researcher in autistic traits, diagnosed at Cambridge in 1987.

    1. I’m autistic. This is offensive to all of us on the spectrum. We think differently, this doesn’t make us oafs or tyrants. Trump’s idiocy is his own doing and while he may or may not be on the spectrum, it is asinine and disrespectful to casually attribute his character to autism especially when the public are already so misinformed about us. You should be ashamed.

  3. Oh, Purleeeeeeze!

    If Mandela or the Dalai Llama had pointed out that in the West, if you are rich and famous, women will LET you caress their kittens would you be joining the calls to have them convicted of rape?!

    And how abou rock stars, considering what Groupies LET them do?!

    And where and when did Trump say he ever took advantage of the offer?!

    If it was Kennedy locker room talk it would be about women letting the President tell them to share their favours with his friends and family.

    How many Muslims has the Obama administration banned from the US?

    Remember the UK family banned from a Disney trip THAT WAS BLAMED ON TRUMP while he was still only CAMPAIGNING FOR President?!

    Even Carter banned Muslims!!!

    Oh, but he’s nasty to the disabled!

    No, he treats them equally:

    He mocked one disabled person in exactly the same way as he mock several able bodied people, and in a way totally unrelated to the person’s disability.

    Etc etc etc………

    I hope you don’t get as emotionally involved (or as easily led and bamboozled) in professional life as in your politics!

  4. I admire your consistency – ‘don’t talk to people you don’t like’ – whether that’s Brexit voters, Trump voters, or Trump himself.

    But it does seem to me that kind of mindset is what led us down this path in the first place.

      1. But this is not really about UK-US relations is it…
        It’s about the more pressing and more important UK-EU relations and the upcoming article 50 negotiations.
        If you take this into consideration you’ll see May already adopting the Trump strategy with which you evidently align with and repeat, namely:
        “The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you’re dead.”

        You might call it US grovelling, but it’s equally sending a message to the EU. An illusion of (or actually) cosying up to the worlds largest economy / superpower substantially improves the UKs relative position when it comes to U.K.-EU talks. And all for the price of a few “horse-drawn carriages through Whitehall, troops of Household Cavalry on parade, and a glittering state banquet” … to me, that’s a bargain.
        Im not defending May or Trump’s divide-and-conquer foreign policy. But it seems to me you can’t ignore the wider picture.

        1. The big question is why non of the media is reporting the bleedin obvious and most of it is attacking Trump for things he hasn’t said or done.

          Yet they elevate the Kennedys and Clintons to sainthood.

          But what if I get pregnant Teddy.

          Don’t worry, Mary Jo: we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

      2. Dear Mr Scott,

        Your article states that Mrs May has “come onto him [Mr Trump] like a bitch”. I am astonished by your use of so offensive a remark. What on earth possessed you?

        Yours sincerely,

        Simon Pearce

          1. Then it seems that your unacceptable choice of words and unrepentant response will remain on the public record. A great pity.

        1. Obviously locker room talk, while unacceptable for a businessman and reality TV star, is perfectly OK for members of the Establishment, such as the Kennedys, the Clinton’s, and Barristers.

          So no one will be making accusations of bragging or boasting of assaults on the PM, never mind raping her!

  5. Mr Scott, I read your blog with interest and pleasure but regret to say that in this instance I disagree. Granting this man a state visit brings the nation into disrepute and we should all object to the visit going ahead. For once, lets not be too starry eyed about the so called special relationship. It doesn’t really exist and we should be grown up enough to realise that. We all, (or rather many of us,) laughed at Blair for being Bush’s lap dog. We have seen the results of a too close relationship – WMD anyone?
    We as a nation,and Theresa May as Prime Minister, need to keep a distance between Trump, the US and the United Kingdom.

    Finally, I would have signed the petition even before the Executive Order on the basis that to invite him for a State visit was just wrong, wrong, wrong.

    1. Why? Why?! Why?!?!

      Is it because you is a racist and rape apologist?

      Is it because you object to the fact he thinks the USA should de doing more to help blacks and get them out of the ghetto?

      Or is it because he dared speak up in support of vulnerable, exploited Latino women suffering an epidemic of rape by their Hispanic people traffickers and fellow Mexican illegal immigrants?!?!?!

      Your attitude is just wrong! Wrong!! WRONG!!!

  6. “vulgar, vulgar, vulgar.”

    Typical establishment snobbery. They can’t stand it that a working class lad from Govan has achieved more than the lot of them put together.

  7. From the Queen’s Speech opening the next session of Parliament:

    “We will continue to meet and greet those foreign dignitaries who surprise Us by thinking it worth their while to come here and to whom Mr Johnson (We think that that is his name) says we must offer the hospitality of Our homes (We, at least, know Our duty) but by reason of advancing years We have ceased to go to them. Our days of having to sit next to a Foreign Minister while enjoying a meal probably made from his predecessor are over and we leave that pleasure, such as it is, to Our family.”

  8. The landslide of Executive Orders drafted by the “shadow” president Steve Bannon has only just begun. According to the “rogue” White House staff Twitter, by the end of the week Trump will have signed an anti-LBGT Executive Order. Same source says that Trump was dismissive of PM May saying, “I hope she’ll like us, but she doesn’t have much to offer.” and that post-Brexit “She does what we want, or we go somewhere else.” My reading of this is that PM May gained exactly nothing from her visit to Washington. As Trump and Bannon (now fulfilling his already publicly admitted ambition of dismantling the State) turn the US into Korea-in-the-West, the rest of us can only watch in horrified fascination and hope to escape “contamination”.

    1. So would that be North or South Korea?

      Whis has had the apparatus of state dismantled?!

      And can you come back at the weekend and identify the Executive Order you think is the Anti-QWERTY, sorry, LGBTQIA+, one?!

    2. Is this “rogue White House staff Twitter” the source of the “/Views” stories and activists placards.

      Because none of the Executive Orders I’ve actually read bear any resemblance to what is “reported” in the media or spat out by protesters.

      No change there then.

      Regardless of of his character or lack of it, none of the campaign “reporting” seemed to have any basis in fact!

  9. I wonder if anyone has actually read the Executive order on the “Muslim Ban”?

    And if anyone has, I wonder if they’ve wondered who on Earth has has circulated the Memo/Press Release that everyone from the “/Views” and other media, through Celebrities, down to activist organisers, is parotting from and working to (Trump/ banning/ from 7/ majority-Muslim/ states/ that Trump hasn’t got business interests in/ which won’t stop the Twin Towers Terrorists/ however the banned terrorists haven’t killed anyone. Yet. In the states!)?

    NONE of which bears the slightest scrutiny.

  10. The pro-trump visit petition was launched by someone called Alan Augustus Brown, and reads as follows:

    “Donald Trump should be invited to make an official State Visit because he is the leader of a free world and U.K. is a country that supports free speech and does not believe that people that appose our point of view should be gagged.”

    I don’t usually like to be snooty about other people’s spelling and grammar, because my own aren’t perfect, but this fellow seems to have a bit of problem with definite and indefinite articles. We have “a free world” where “the free world” would make more sense, and “U.K.” instead of “the U.K.” Is it possible that the native language of Mr Alan Augustus Brown is one that does not use articles?

    1. Perhaps the writer was highlighting A concept (free speech, etc), rather than THE region.

      Perhaps the writer is more used to text speak.

      Perhaps the writer left school (well) before you did (as did the designers of the Spitfire, Hurricane, Lancaster, Bouncing Bomb, Jet Engine, Collosus Computer…….).

      Or perhaps the writer is only 13, as appears to be the case.

      But still realised the correct term in this context is “a”, rather than “the”, free world!

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