LONDON -- Queen Elizabeth II welcomed President Donald Trump to Buckingham Palace on Monday with an honor guard and royal artillery salute, while Trump carried on a dispute with the mayor of London, whom he called a "stone cold loser" and said was doing a terrible job of running Britain's capital city.
Members of Britain's royalty treated Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, to lunch and a lavish state banquet at Buckingham Palace. The Trumps had afternoon tea with the Prince of Wales and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, at their residence, Clarence House. The Trumps also placed a wreath at Westminster Abbey, where England's queens and kings are crowned, married and laid to rest.
But before Air Force One touched down outside London, Trump was on Twitter, accusing London Mayor Sadiq Khan, with whom he has feuded since 2016 over immigration, terrorism and other issues, of being "nasty" to him, while misspelling the mayor's name and mocking his stature.
"Kahn reminds me very much of our dumb and incompetent Mayor of NYC, de Blasio, who has also done a terrible job -- only half his height," Trump said in a message posted on Twitter, as he invoked another frequent target, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York. Khan, he said, should pay attention to London's crime rate.
Later, Conservative Party politicians stepped forward to defend Trump and criticize Khan.
Khan, a Muslim of Pakistani extraction, had earlier described Trump as "just one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat" and likened the president's language to that used by "fascists of the 20th century." In particular, he has singled out Trump's effort to ban travelers from Muslim countries.
In a video the day before Trump's arrival, posted by Elle UK, Khan expanded his criticism to gender issues, saying the president was promoting policies that would relegate women to second-class status and force them to have back-alley abortions.
"Your values and what you stand for," he said, "are the complete opposite of London's values and the values in the country."
Trump had earlier castigated the mayor for his handling of a 2017 terrorist attack on the London Bridge that killed 11 people. He repeated his criticism of Khan to Britain's foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, as he greeted him on the tarmac. Hunt, for his part, lashed out at Khan and other Labor Party leaders for boycotting Trump's visit and leading protests against him.
Trump's spirits appeared to have lifted by noon, when he arrived at Buckingham Palace, a 3-mile journey he made by helicopter. In May 2011, then-President Barack Obama made the same trip by motorcade, driving past cheering crowds. At the palace, Trump inspected an honor guard with Prince Charles, while the queen watched alongside Melania Trump and the Duchess of Cornwall, the wife of Charles.
After a private lunch, Queen Elizabeth showed Donald Trump a collection of gifts that appeared carefully curated to reflect his interests. They included a map of New York from 1775; a natural history of the Carolinas, Florida and the Bahama Islands; and a table devoted to the Scottish links, with golf-related pictures, letters and a bolt of tartan-patterned Harris tweed. Trump owns a golf club in Scotland.
A portrait of George Washington was visible on the far table, according to reporters at the edge of the scene.
During the exhibit of gifts, cameras caught Prince Harry making a brief appearance at the back of the room but quickly ducking out again.
The prince's wife, the Duchess of Sussex, formerly known as Meghan Markle, an American actress, was critical of Trump in November 2016 just before he was elected. She does not plan to meet Trump on this trip, British officials said, because she is on maternity leave.
Also on display was a copy of the Declaration of Independence -- under the heading, A Tale of Two Georges: King George III and George Washington.
Then Trump was off to lay the wreath and tour Westminster Abbey. The president stopped at a slab of marble honoring Lord Byron and inquired about the stones used to make the flooring.
At Buckingham Palace, the president appeared to enjoy himself immensely as he strode the ranks of the queen's guards decked out in black bearskin hats and scarlet jackets.
At the banquet, where Trump's children were seated between princes and captains of industry, Trump and the queen exchanged toasts before a pair of gilded thrones.
In his toast, Trump spoke of the shared legacy of the D-Day invasion 75 years ago, which both leaders will commemorate this week. He hailed a young female mechanic who repaired military truck engines during World War II and who was to become "the future queen -- a great, great woman."
In her toast, the queen took note of the multilateral institutions that Britain and the United States helped to create after World War II to prevent another war -- institutions, such as NATO, that Trump has denigrated. "While the world has changed," she said, "we are forever mindful of the original purpose of these structures."
"The Queen and the entire Royal family have been fantastic," Trump tweeted after his afternoon with them. "Tremendous crowds of well wishers and people that love our Country. Haven't seen any protests yet, but I'm sure the Fake News will be working hard to find them."
The main protests are scheduled for today. Thousands of protesters are expected to pack London's Trafalgar Square. A giant balloon depicting Trump as a diaper-clad baby is expected to take flight, and opposition Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is scheduled to address the crowds.
Also today, the president is scheduled to visit Prime Minister Theresa May at 10 Downing St., three days before she relinquishes leadership of her party amid a deepening dispute over Britain's exit from the European Union. He is also scheduled to meet with U.S. and U.K. business leaders. The talks will include executives from BAE Systems PLC, GlaxoSmithKline PLC, National Grid PLC, Barclays Bank PLC, Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Lockheed Martin Corp., Goldman Sachs International, Bechtel Corp and Splunk Inc.
He is expected to pressure the U.K. over Huawei Technologies Co., which the U.S. wants to see shut out of 5G broadband networks across Europe.
A joint news conference with the prime minister will then give Trump -- if he chooses -- the chance to expound on British politics on issues such as Brexit and the contest to succeed May.
Trump has been vocal about his desire to see Britain make a clean break from the European Union. In an interview with the Sunday Times of London, published before he left Washington, the president said Britain should "walk away" from Brexit negotiations to extract better terms. He also suggested naming Nigel Farage, the leader of a pro-Brexit party, as the country's main negotiator.
Trump on Monday called on the U.K. to throw off the "shackles" of EU membership and strike a free-trade deal with the U.S.
"Big Trade Deal is possible once U.K. gets rid of the shackles," Trump tweeted. "Already starting to talk!"
Brexit critics say a trade deal with the U.S. risks imperiling the National Health Service by increasing the involvement of private U.S. companies in the U.K. public sector. May's office reiterated Monday that the state-funded health care system would not be up for discussion in trade talks.
The statement came after Trump's ambassador in London, Woody Johnson, told the BBC that the "entire" U.K. economy would be on the table in talks.
Information for this article was contributed by Mark Landler and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times; by William Booth, Toluse Olorunnipa and Anne Gearan of The Washington Post; and by Tim Ross, Thomas Penny and Margaret Talev of Bloomberg News.
Queen Elizabeth II (second from left), standing between President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump and also joined by Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, listens to the U.S. national anthem Monday during a ceremonial welcome in the garden of Buckingham Palace in London on the opening day of Trump’s three-day state visit to Britain.
President Donald Trump, accompanied by his wife Melania, places a wreath on the Grave of the Unknown Warrior during a tour of Westminster Abbey in central London on Monday. Video is available at arkansasonline.com/64soldier.
A Section on 06/04/2019
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