Mass protests are set to greet U.S. President Donald Trump when he arrives in the United Kingdom on Thursday, even though he will be spending most of his time meeting British dignitaries at grand country houses and a castle.
Trump will arrive in Britain on Thursday afternoon, with some 70,000 people now expected to attend an anti-Trump rally in central London on Friday.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan gave protesters the green light last week to fly a blimp over the Houses of Parliament, portraying Trump as an orange, snarling baby.
"The mayor supports the right to peaceful protest and understands that this can take many different forms," a spokesman for Khan said.
The mayor and Trump clashed last year when the U.S. president criticized Kahn for urging Londoners to keep calm following a terror attack at Borough Market that left seven dead.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has experienced a difficult week following the resignation of two key cabinet members, including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Compounding matters, before heading for Europe on Monday, Trump said Britain is in "turmoil" and it is "up to the people" to decide whether May stays as PM – so the two will have plenty to discuss when they meet at a black-tie dinner at Blenheim Palace (the birthplace of Winston Churchill) in Oxford on Thursday evening.
During dinner, an orchestra is reportedly set to perform "a series of classic British and American hits" and the Royal Regiment of Scotland will pipe the U.S. president out at the end of the dinner.
The president and first lady Melania Trump will then spend Thursday night at Winfield House, the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Regent's Park, central London. Trump is expected to arrive by helicopter, hopefully avoiding his baby blimp en route.
On Friday morning Trump and May will visit a defense site to witness a military demonstration and integrated U.K.-U.S. military training. They will then travel to Chequers, May’s country residence and the site of last week's now-infamous Brexit meeting that prompted Johnson's resignation.
A news conference will follow the leaders' talks on a range of foreign policy issues.
The president and first lady will then travel to Windsor Castle to meet Queen Elizabeth II. It is not known if the queen is expected to curtsy.
The Trumps will travel north on Friday evening to Scotland, where they will spend the weekend.
Trump owns several golf courses in Scotland. Trump International Golf Links Scotland was the source of much controversy earlier this decade and even spawned a documentary, "You've Been Trumped," about a battle not to sell land to the U.S. tycoon. He also owns Trump Turnberry in Ayrshire, where he will be staying before heading to his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday.
Anti-Trump demonstrations are planned in Edinburgh and Glasgow during his stay in Scotland.
Trump actually has Scottish roots – his mother, Mary Anne MacLeod Trump, was born in the Outer Hebrides – and when his Muslim travel ban was first announced in January 2017, Scots were keen to remind him of that fact: A banner at the rally in Glasgow read, "Yer maw was an immigrant you absolute roaster.”
If Trump wants to take his mind off the protests, he should probably avoid switching on the radio: There's been a campaign to make Green Day's "American Idiot" the number one song while he's in Britain.
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