He and First Lady Melania Trump toured the abbey with Dean of Westminster John Hall amid a packed schedule after they flew into London Monday morning
With a brevity befitting his Twitter feed — where he is more often either praising himself or attacking rivals — Trump wrote: “Thank you so much. This has been a great honor. Special place.”
He and First Lady Melania Trump toured the abbey with Dean of Westminster John Hall amid a packed schedule after they flew into London Monday morning. They also laid a wreath at the abbey’s grave of the Unknown Warrior.
At one point on the tour the president was struck by the age of the church, twice repeating its consecration year of 1269.
The first couple will head to Ireland on Wednesday and then to France on Thursday.
The four-day European trip’s official purpose, per the White House, is to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day while reaffirming the close alliance between the U.S. and the U.K. The itinerary includes a mix of ceremonial occasions, including a banquet at Buckingham Palace, and political engagements, such as meeting with departing U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May.
Trump was first invited for an official state visit, which entails much pomp and ceremony, in 2017. But the trip was repeatedly delayed and he is a divisive figure in the U.K. Just as he was landing in London on Monday, he sent out a pair of tweets attacking London Mayor Sadiq Khan as a “loser.”
Late last week The Sun newspaper published an interview in which he described Meghan Markle‘s 2016 criticism of him as “nasty.” He later insisted he never said anything bad about her.
Khan, a regular target of Trump’s ire and London’s first Muslim mayor, spoke out against his 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,” he wrote. “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.”
Thousands are expected to protest in London during the president’s visit.
“I think it’ll be very important,” he told reporters at the White House on Sunday. “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.”