U.K. plans show of special forces, black-tie dinner for Trump

  12 July 2018    Read: 3260
U.K. plans show of special forces, black-tie dinner for Trump

President Donald Trump will watch a demonstration of how British and U.S. special forces would jointly tackle a terrorist attack during his visit to the U.K., as Prime Minister Theresa May seeks to reinforce the idea of a special military alliance between the two countries.

Trump arrives Thursday after a NATO summit in which he suggested other Western nations double their arms budgets to 4 percent of gross domestic product. After leaving the U.K., Trump will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki -- with whom Britain has a strained relationship following the poisoning of a double agent and subsequent murder of a civilian who later ingested the same nerve agent.

By virtue of NATO leaders being sat in alphabetical order of their countries, Trump and May -- who have also had an awkward relationship -- spent over three hours sitting next to each other during a meeting and dinner at the summit in Brussels on Wednesday. At the meal, May said she welcomes Trump’s meeting with Putin, as communication between the U.S. and Russia is “key to managing the risks of confrontation.”

When he arrives, Trump will be taken to Blenheim Palace, the 300-year-old birthplace of World War II leader Winston Churchill. Tuxedo-clad government ministers and representatives of fund managers BlackRock Inc and Blackstone Group LP, as well as Arup Ltd and drinks manufacturer Diageo Plc, will join him for a dinner of Scottish salmon, beef and strawberries and clotted cream ice-cream to discuss post-Brexit trade.

On Friday, Trump will meet May and her newly-appointed Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt at the prime minister’s countryside retreat, Chequers. Over Dover sole, lamb and lemon meringue pie, the leaders will discuss Russia, trade, Brexit and the Middle East.

“There is no stronger alliance than that of our special relationship with the U.S. and there will be no alliance more important in the years ahead,” May said in a statement ahead of the visit. “This week we have an opportunity to deepen this unique trading relationship and begin discussions about how we will forge a strengthened, ambitious and future-proof trade partnership.”

Later, Trump will take afternoon tea with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle, a family home to the royals for 1,000 years -- part of a tour of prime real estate designed to keep him away from protesters.

Separately his wife, Melania, will visit war veterans and schoolchildren in a London visit accompanied by Philip May, the prime minister’s husband.

As she does so, a giant helium-filled, baby-shaped effigy of the president will be inflated in front of Parliament, as nationwide protests take place against Trump’s perceived racism, sexism and foreign policy.


The Bloomberg

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