Major protests are expected during Trump's visit, which is set to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day

By Adam Carlson
June 03, 2019 06:20 AM

While en route Monday morning to London for his first state visit to the U.K., President Donald Trump mocked the London mayor as a “stone cold loser” only a few hours after again insisting he had not said anything “bad” about Meghan Markle.

Trump’s comments seem likely to ensure his trip — officially set to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, though it has been repeatedly delayed since Queen Elizabeth first invited him in 2017 — will see the same split-screen effect that has marked many of his ceremonial moments at president, when his taste for conflict makes its own headlines.

American presidents usually avoid overtly partisan gestures during state visits to foreign allies, where they are celebrated by their host countries and heads of state.

And though the president and First Lady Melania Trump will attend a number of formal events, including a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, Trump is unlikely to curb the behavior that has made him a successful and highly divisive politician at home.

That instinct was on display in his Monday morning tweets, sent only a few minutes before he landed in Air Force One at London’s Stansted Airport.

Mayor Sadiq Khan, the president tweeted, “by all accounts has done a terrible job as Mayor of London.”

He “has been foolishly ‘nasty’ to the visiting President of the United States, by far the most important ally of the United Kingdom. He is a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me,” Trump continued, before adding another dig.

“Kahn reminds me very much of our very dumb and incompetent Mayor of NYC, de Blasio, who has also done a terrible job – only half his height. In any event, I look forward to being a great friend to the United Kingdom, and am looking very much forward to my visit. Landing now!”

Trump has repeatedly criticized Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor — often in an inflammatory manner, as when he spoke out to criticize Khan’s efforts to reassure London following a deadly terror attack there in 2017.

From left: First Lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump arrive in London on Monday for a U.K. state visit
From left: First Lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump arrive in the U.K. for a state visit

During the president’s working visit to the U.K. last summer, Khan approved the use of a giant flying “baby Trump” blimp for protests in London.

He spoke out against Trump’s state visit in an op-ed this weekend.

“It’s too late to stop the red-carpet treatment, but it’s not too late for the prime minister to do the right thing,” Khan wrote. “[Prime Minister] Theresa May should issue a powerful rejection — not of the U.S. as a country or the office of the presidency, but of Trump and the far-right agenda he embodies.”

Following his arrival in London this morning, President Trump and his wife will be greeted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace and meet with other senior royals, including tea with Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Not present will be Meghan, who is on maternity leave following the birth of son Archie with Prince Harry.

Still, her name will not be far from mind: Late last week The Sun newspaper published an Oval Office interview with the president in which he reacted with surprise at learning Meghan had criticized him during the 2016 campaign, labeling him “misogynistic.”

“I didn’t know that she was nasty,” Trump said of Meghan, using a favorite adjective.

Protestors during President Donald Trump’s working visit to the U.K. last year
Finbarr Webster/Shutterstock

Trump soon disputed that he had made the remark at all, despite the interview being recorded. He also praised Meghan and wished her well following the birth of her son.

But, speaking with reporters at the White House on Sunday night as he prepared to head to London, he declined to apologize or clarify what he said — again insisting there was no quote to discuss.

“I made no bad comment,” he said.

The president will spend three days in U.K. before taking a brief trip to Ireland and then heading to France on Thursday.

Major protests are expected in London.

“I think it’ll be very important,” Trump told reporters on Sunday of the visit. “It certainly will be very interesting. There’s a lot going on in the U.K. And I’m sure it’s going to work out very well for them.”