Despite Trump’s insistence in an interview with pal Rupert Murdoch’s British tabloid The Sun that he is “really loved” in the U.K., authorities are gearing up for hundreds of thousands of anti-Trump protesters. Some 10,000 officers — including snipers backed by helicopters and bomb-sniffing dogs — will be assigned to London to keep the peace during Trump’s visit at a cost of some $32 million, The London Times reported.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, an ardent Trump critic, has granted permission for the high-profile blimp to fly over London the second day of Trump’s visit, according to the Times. The 20-foot-high blimp portrays Trump as a giant baby in a diaper, holding a cell phone and having a temper tantrum.
In a scathing op-ed piece in The Observer that ran on Saturday, Khan lashed Trump for supporting white supremacists and called him “the figurehead of a global far-right movement,” comparing him to 20th-century fascist leaders. It’s “un-British” to “roll out the red carpet” for a president who betrays American ideals of equality, liberty and religious freedom, Khan wrote.
Protesters still await final approval on the blimp from the Metropolitan Police officials, who are expected to decide the matter on Monday. They gave the okay for the blimp when Trump visited the U.K. last July. The Trump blimp is also expected to be featured in Dublin for a “Stand Up To Trump” protest during the president’s brief stop in Ireland later in the week, according to the Irish Times.
Sky News created a cheeky video to promote its coverage of Trump’s visit, showing a giant shadow moving across the land, like something out of War of The Worlds. But as the camera pans up, it turns out to be the Trump baby blimp.
Trump’s itinerary includes a banquet at Buckingham Palace, talks with outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May and a trip to Portsmouth to mark the 75th anniversary of World War II’s D-Day landings in France. On the actual anniversary date ― June 6 ― Trump will participate in ceremonies in France.
During Trump’s 2018 U.K. visit, he largely avoided London. This time, he’ll spend more time there.
Joining those protesting him will be Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is boycotting the state banquet. Corbyn has said that such an honor should not be paid to a president who “rips up vital international treaties, backs climate change denial and uses racist and misogynist rhetoric.”
Trump will be accompanied on the trip by his wife, Melania, as well as his three eldest children and their spouses.