As everyone has by now heard, Donald Trump will finally be getting an official “state visit” with the UK’s Queen Elizabeth, and responses have been approximately the same as when he visited in 2018 on what was billed at the time as a “working visit” — that is to say, there is plenty of outcry.
It is understandable that the Queen, being the stateswoman that she is, would extend the invitation at some point to the American President; she has invited each of the previous US leaders that have served during her reign. But at least one of the more common elements of a state visit will be missing: Trump will almost assuredly not be invited to address Parliament, as is customary.
Theresa May first offered the invitation to Trump back in 2017, and at that time, Commons Speaker John Bercow told Parliament that he would oppose Trump addressing the esteemed body. Bercow, who is still the Speaker, told them in 2017 that his opposition was rooted in dismay at Trump’s proposed Muslim ban:
I feel very strongly that our opposition to racism and sexism and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are hugely important considerations in the House of Commons.”
Trump’s itinerary has not yet been mapped out, but the customary procedure once it has — as was the case with Reagan, Clinton, and Obama — would be for Buckingham Palace to request invitations from the leaders of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. That’s Bercow in the first role and his counterpart Lord Fowler in the second.
But according to a piece in Tuesday’s Guardian, those invitations may never go out:
[Although] no final decision had been made, a request was unlikely to be put forward on this occasion because it would probably be turned down and could potentially embarrass the Queen.”
Not only does the Palace fear that a parliamentary address from Trump could be graceless or even mortifying to Queen Elizabeth, but official snubs have come in from the leaders of the power-sharing parties in Parliament — both Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, and Sir Vince Cable, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, have indicated they would not even attend a state dinner at which Trump is present.
And perhaps the funniest part of all this — if it weren’t so tearfully true that our President is a jackass that no one wants to host — is that Trump has no idea any of this is happening, wouldn’t understand it if he did, and wouldn’t care if he understood it.
Featured image is a screen capture.