Trump's Postponing a Visit to Britain - Or Is He?

Posted: Jun 11, 2017 10:30 AM

As the White House Correspondents Association knows, President Trump is more than willing to avoid attending an event at which he won't be enthusiastically received.

Does that willingness extend to canceling a state trip to Britain? One report says yes.

Sunday morning The Guardian reported that a Downing Street "adviser" heard a phone call between Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May "in recent weeks" in which Trump said he didn't want to visit if there would be "large-scale protests" and was putting plans for a trip on hold.

After the London Bridge attack, Trump embarked on a tweet attack against London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Khan then called on the British government to rescind Trump's invitation to visit.

In response to Khan, May scolded Trump for his tweets, but both she and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the invitation should not be rescinded. Johnson told BBC Radio:

“The invitation has been issued and accepted and I see no reason to rescind that. I do not wish to interpose myself between the Mayor of London and the President of the United States.

May, on behalf of Queen Elizabeth, extended an invitation to Trump during her visit to Washington in January, just after the inauguration. Trump accepted and was initially expected to visit in June, but the visit was later pushed back to October, according to British media. An actual date has not been announced.

May's people released a statement Sunday contradicting The Guardian's report:

"We aren't going to comment on speculation about the contents of private phone conversations. The Queen extended an invitation to President Trump to visit the UK and there is no change to those plans."

It seems that the US mainstream media's reliance on anonymous "sources" or "advisers" to run stories critical of President Trump has spread to Britain as well. One story in which an anonymous source reported overhearing one side of a a weeks-old telephone call in which the President supposedly said he didn't want to go on a trip that isn't finalized (but months away) if there may be protests leads to dozens of follow-up stories saying the President "canceled" the trip, and to Prime Minister May's office having to issue a statement denying the report. Amazing.