The White House on Saturday denied a report that President Donald Trump had demanded a royal carriage to ride in during an upcoming state visit to the U.K.
“We have not even begun working on details for this trip,” a White House spokeswoman said, according to People.
A carriage procession from London’s Horse Guards Parade to Buckingham Palace is a normal part of the protocol for a state visit. But The Times notes that President Barack Obama chose not to travel in the carriage during a 2011 visit, opting instead to make the trip in his armored limousine.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
If Trump does travel by carriage, he could likely use the lavish gold-plated Diamond Jubilee State coach, which other foreign dignitaries, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, have used during past state visits.
Sources told The Times that the carriage was not as secure as the president’s traditional armored vehicle, which is bulletproof and can protect against a chemical attack and a small bomb.
Security officials are preparing for massive protests during Trump’s visit, which The Times reported will require unprecedented security. The Evening Standard reported in February that policing costs for the visit could be up to 7 million pounds.
“The vehicle which carries the president of the United States is a spectacular vehicle. It is designed to withstand a massive attack like a low-level rocket grenade,” a source told The Times. “If he’s in that vehicle he is incredibly well protected and on top of that it can travel at enormous speed. If he is in a golden coach being dragged up the Mall by a couple of horses, the risk factor is dramatically increased.”
The drain on resources for a carriage trip may be of little significance to Trump. He has stretched the Secret Service thin and spent millions in American taxpayer funds to protect his family and to take frequent weekend trips to his estate in Florida.
Trump, known to obsess over imagery and the way he appears on television, toyed with the idea of having military equipment in his inaugural parade.
More than 1.8 million people signed an online petition earlier this year arguing that Queen Elizabeth II shouldn’t extend a formal invitation for a state visit to Trump because “it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen.”
In January, British Prime Minister Theresa May extended an invitation to Trump on behalf of the queen for a state visit. He accepted.
“This invitation reflects the importance of the relationship between the United States of America and the United Kingdom,” the Foreign and Commonwealth Office wrote in response to the petition. “At this stage, final dates have not yet been agreed for the State Visit.”
This story has been updated to include the White House’s comments as reported in People magazine.
BEFORE YOU GO
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more informationTrack ballot status
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place