Regardless of the unpopularity of President Trump, we have to remember who he is. The President of the United States of America, the leader of the free world and the UK’s biggest ally. Simply because Trump is an unconventional leader of a western democracy does not take away from the importance of the ‘special relationship’ that exists between the two great nations.
The US and UK’s diplomatic relationship is built on a long military alliance, robust trade and shared political views. The term ‘special relationship’ was initially coined by Winston Churchill in 1946, and has been duly upheld by his successors. Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan cemented the term due to their ‘golden conservative’ relationship. Tony Blair and George W. Bush found common cause in the War on Terror where they were each other’s biggest allies in the lead up to the Iraq war. David Cameron and Barack Obama continued the strong relationship by working together on issues of national security and foreign policy. Even under Trump, the ‘special relationship’ persists as Theresa May was the first foreign leader to visit the President after his inauguration. The level of cooperation between the two nations in economic activity, trade and commerce, military planning, execution of military operations, nuclear weapons technology and intelligence sharing has been described as unparalleled among other major powers. Therefore, by not allowing Trump a state visit is to compromise this relationship that has withstood economic crisis and war, as well as to possibly compromise Britain’s wellbeing, should we lose our biggest ally.
The argument of Trump’s views not aligning with those of the UK’s being the reason as to why he should not be allowed a state visit is absurd. Take King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia for example who is known for his nation’s drastic mistreatment of women and the LGBTQ+ community, which in no way aligns with the views of the United Kingdom, yet he had a state visit in late 2007. Or perhaps President Vladimir Putin of Russia with all of his laws that the UK would consider complete breaches of human rights. He also secured a state visit in 2003. Or there is Romania's Nicolae Ceausescu’s visit in 1978. Ceausescu was well-known as one of the most corrupt and oppressive leaders of the Soviet Union's Cold War satellite states, yet he as well had a state visit. Despite all of this, some are still arguing against the visit of a leader who was democratically elected.
A state visit is not an acceptance of everything that President Trump stands for. By allowing him this, the UK is not forgetting him retweeting the anti-Muslimism videos from the British far-right group Britain First, nor are we accepting his misogynistic tendencies. We may disapprove of the current leader of the United States, but we cannot disapprove the entire American government nor can we disapprove of the American people, which is what we will be doing by not allowing their President a state visit. Who knows, May might finally step up her game and confront Trump with the comfort of being on her own turf.
Trump may not always do things in a diplomatic way, but the UK does, and by not allowing him a state visit is take away from our diplomatic ways. I don't like him, May isn’t his biggest fan, and neither is the majority of the United Kingdom. But for our own sake, we have to allow him a state visit.
Photo: adapted from Wikipedia, Mageslayer99