Nick explores the government’s silence to Trump and his travel ban; he discusses the British public’s response to Theresa May’s decision to offer Trump a state visit invitation.
Edited by Isabel Aruna.
In a joint press conference with Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Theresa May defended her controversial decision to offer President Donald Trump an invitation for a state visit. After meeting with the President in January 2016, the Prime Minister commented on the ‘special relationship’ that the UK and the USA share and cited that the two nations have always been ‘close allies’ when the wisdom of her defence was questioned by MPs.
May’s defence flies in the face of numerous calls for the invitation to be rescinded; an online petition to stop President Trump crossing the pond to make an official State visit, has garnered 1,862,796 signatures to date (the 27th of March 2017) following the PMs announcement.
The anger directed towards America’s latest leader stems primarily from his highly inflammatory executive order instated in January barring citizens of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia from entering the US for 90 days; alongside this is of orders placed on prominent scientific authorities and media producers.
As of March the President has signed an updated executive order, travel ban 2.0 you might say, which exempts Iraq from the former order. This new order has also reinstated a blanket ban on all refugees.
May is among a notable handful of high-ranking Tories who while not defending Trump’s actions since assuming the Presidency did not condemn him either. Among these Conservative MPs, the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has called out the Labour party for ‘pointlessly demonising’ the President. In response to comparisons made between President Trump and Adolf Hitler, Mr Johnson argues that such claims are inappropriate and that they demean the barbarism of the Third Reich.
One of the questions directed towards Theresa May in light of this newest uproar was the extent of her foreknowledge of President Trump’s plans. The British government has been assured according to Mr Johnson that Trump’s ban will not affect British nationals irrespective of their country of birth. The Labour party has launched scathing critiques of this claim, citing examples of British nationals detained at airports and the slow response time of Downing Street as a whole to the potential crisis.
As of this time the PM has not commented on President Trump’s condemnation of the US Department of Agriculture and their message of a man-made climate change, nor the extent to which the Oval Office has frozen large grants for various medical fields related to vaccination and abortion. May’s seeming apathy towards decrees slashing the supposedly unalienable rights of American citizens is not encouraging.
In light of continued national uproar, Mr Trump and Ms May have agreed to postpone the President’s visit until October 2017. According to The Sun and the Independent, the hope is that the British public will have come to terms or ‘forgotten’ President Trump’s more discriminating decisions by this time.