By Carlo Versano
President Trump arrived in London early Monday morning for his first official state visit to America's closest ally. As is often the case with the president, he brought plenty of controversy with him to a trip largely engineered to show the closeness of ties between host and visitor.
Trump has always been a divisive figure in Great Britain and he arrives in the country at a tumultuous period: the fate of Brexit remains as unclear as ever after Prime Minister Theresa May announced she would step down after repeatedly failing to deliver on her Brexit plan. The U.S. president made clear ahead of the trip that he believes Britain should withdraw from the EU without a deal in place.
For that reason, opposition MPs like Jeremy Corbyn have declined to meet with Trump. Eshe Nelson, reporter for Quartz, spoke to Cheddar's J.D. Durkin from the banks of the Thames, noting that President Trump has "ulterior motives" with regard to Brexit.
"Trump sees the EU as a trade foe," Nelson said. "Any weakening of the EU is good for Donald Trump."
Of course, major policies or announcements are rarely hashed out on state visits, which is more about showing off the pageantry, pomp, and circumstance of the host country. And when it comes to Britain, there's no shortage of pageantry. President Trump will be officially received by Queen Elizabeth for a state banquet at Buckingham Palace. Official royal protocol states that those who dine with the queen should stop eating when she has finished. And Nelson said Elizabeth is known to be a "quick eater."
Whether Trump, not one for following protocol, keeps that royal rule in mind will be just one of the moments worth watching as the trip progresses.
Tens of thousands of protesters are expected to line the streets of London to demonstrate the trip. Those protests were ratcheted up after London's mayor, Sadiq Khan, said Trump represents the "opposite of London's values." Trump responded on Twitter, calling Khan a "stone cold loser."