Trump’s state visit to Britain put on hold

Anti-Trump protests in London in January. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

How might President Trump react to a world leader who, afraid for his image, perhaps afraid for himself, refused to fulfil a promise to visit a loyal ally. He might fire off a tweet: “RAN from critics. A gift for crooked MSM. TOTAL pathetic loser!”

But he won’t, because the loser is him. He got to hold hands with Theresa May when she visited Washington, but alas, that may be the high point of his cuddle-fest with her, and with the UK – because Trump, it now appears, is not keen on making his proposed state visit to Britain any time soon.

Donald Trump has told Theresa May in a phone call he does not want to go ahead with a state visit to Britain until the British public supports him coming.

The US president said he did not want to come if there were large-scale protests and his remarks in effect put the visit on hold for some time.

The call was made in recent weeks, according to a Downing Street adviser who was in the room. The statement surprised May, according to those present.

The conversation in part explains why there has been little public discussion about a visit.

May invited Trump to Britain seven days after his inauguration when she became the first foreign leader to visit him in the White House. She told a joint press conference she had extended an invitation from the Queen to Trump and his wife Melania to make a state visit later in the year and was “delighted that the president has accepted that invitation”.

Many senior diplomats, including Lord Ricketts, the former national security adviser, said the invitation was premature, but impossible to rescind once made.

Trump has named Woody Johnson, a Republican donor and owner of the New York Jets, as the new ambassador to the UK but has yet to nominate him formally. A large number of US ambassadorial positions remain unfilled worldwide largely due to the Trump team failing to make any formal nominations.

The acting US ambassador to the UK, Lewis Lukens, a career diplomat, clashed with Trump last week by praising Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, for his strong leadership over the London Bridge and Borough Market terror attack.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said it would not comment. “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.”

The White House said in statement: “The President has tremendous respect for Prime Minister May. That subject never came up on the call.”

Jenna Johnson, a Washington Post reporter tweeted to say that the White House press secretary had told her the Guardian’s report was “false” but added that the White House “won’t say when Trump plans to go to the UK”.

Later, The New York Times, citing two unnamed administration officials, reported that Trump was considering scrapping or postponing the trip. The officials stressed that he might yet “warm to the idea” but that keeping it off the schedule was the best approach.

And what do we learn from this? Once again we see what it is to deal with someone who has such high office and such thin skin. Just the notion of turbulence that might be seen around the world seems to be enough to scare him off. If he can’t bomb it or tweet against it, the cupboard of responses seems bare.

But, for the more important message, look to ourselves. It is easy to question the efficacy of protest. Millions marched against the war in Iraq, but couldn’t stop it. Millions more marched against Brexit and cuts in the NHS. There is rarely such a direct link to be drawn between public action and response from those with power, but each public protest speaks to the strength and tenor of opinion. Every one sets out a position and raises the stakes. Here the stakes became too high for a brittle, image-conscious president in Washington. What do we want? Not Trump. When do we want him? Never.

The Guardian online newspaper source for this article here and here.

Donald Trump Jr called ‘a disgrace’ for tweet goading London mayor

Donald Trump Jr: ‘You have to be kidding me?!’ Photograph: Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

Donald Trump Jr is facing a backlash for criticizing London mayor Sadiq Khan with a scornful tweet sent hours after an attack at the Houses of Parliament left five dead, including a police officer.

The US president’s eldest son tweeted a link to a September 2016 story in the Independent, which quoted Khan saying terror attacks were “part and parcel of living in a big city”, and “I want to be reassured that every single agency and individual involved in protecting our city has the resources and expertise they need to respond in the event that London is attacked.”

“You have to be kidding me?!” Trump Jr tweeted, quoting the headline: “Terror attacks are part of living in big city, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan”.

Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr)

You have to be kidding me?!: Terror attacks are part of living in big city, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan https://t.co/uSm2pwRTjO

March 22, 2017

It’s unclear if the president’s son read the article or understood that the quote was from six months ago and not a response to the Wednesday attack, which police are treating as a terrorist incident.

This is not the first time Trump Jr has gotten into trouble for his tweets. In September, he compared Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles, prompting widespread backlash. He also faced criticisms for sharing a white supremacist meme.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But later on Wednesday Trump Jr wrote in an email to the New York Times: “I’m not going to comment on every tweet I send.”

 

UK orders Google ‘Street View’ wi-fi data deleted

A Google Street View car in London. Photograph: Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

A Google Street View car in London. Photograph: Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

Google has been threatened with criminal proceedings by the information commissioner’s office (ICO) over data secretly collected by its Street View cars in the UK.

The privacy watchdog said it would prosecute the US firm under the contempt of court act if it failed to delete private information it gathered from public Wi-Fi networks.

The ICO has served Google with an enforcement notice ordering it to delete the data within 35 days or face criminal proceedings.

Stephen Eckersley, the ICO’s head of enforcement, said: “Today’s enforcement notice strengthens the action already taken by our office, placing a legal requirement on Google to delete the remaining payload data identified last year within the next 35 days and immediately inform the ICO if any further disks are found. Failure to abide by the notice will be considered as contempt of court, which is a criminal offence.”

Read complete article on the Guardian.