Trump Says He's a Friend to the U.K. That's a Lie | Opinion

A state visit, with all the pomp and ceremony of a banquet hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace, is the highest diplomatic accolade this country can offer.

That doesn't mean Britain has been choosy about who gets this honor. There's an embarrassing list of world leaders, from Zaire's homicidal dictator Mobutu Sese Seko to Romania's communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who have all been hosted at Buckingham Palace.

American presidents, though, are not supposed to be part of this tradition of embarrassing guests. But Donald Trump fits right in.

His two-and-a-half years in office have shown him to be a bigot, a bully, a racist, a misogynist and a fantasist. Even as his plane was preparing to touch down in the U.K., his bullying, boorish behavior was on full display as he tweeted about London's mayor Sadiq Khan (whose city was about to host him for the next two days), calling him a "stone cold loser".

Trump's personality alone should have been enough to deny him the privilege of a full state visit. But he is far more dangerous than this.

His refusal to acknowledge the science of climate change is not only recklessly ignorant, it endangers global efforts to tackle the climate emergency. The private meeting with Theresa May on Tuesday should have been used to deliver the clear message, asked for by 250 leading climate researchers in Britain, that he is undermining international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

But the one-on-one meeting has been cancelled—replaced by a guided tour of the Churchill War Rooms. So a key opportunity to get at least something positive out of this visit is being squandered.

Trump maintains he is a friend of Britain. There is nothing he has said or done which makes him a friend to this country.

He has trumpeted Brexit and supports No Deal despite the terrible damage this would do to our economy. He wants Boris Johnson, who supports a hard Brexit, as our next prime minister and says Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party, should be included in negotiations with the EU.

None of this would make Britain stronger. Quite the reverse. And that is probably his plan, hoping a weakened Britain, desperate for trade deals to replace our strong relationship with Europe, will roll over to U.S. demands for full access to our agriculture and health sector.

The U.S. ambassador to the U.K., Woody Johnson, has already said the whole of Britain's economy, including the NHS, would be "on the table" in future trade negotiations.

The NHS is probably the most cherished institution in Britain, a publicly-funded system offering free at-the-point-of-use care to everyone. It has nothing to gain from trade deals with a country whose per capita health costs are the highest in the world and where medical bills are a major cause of personal bankruptcy.

When it comes to our food and farming, Ambassador Johnson has already suggested that Britain abandons its "museum of agriculture" for farming methods based on "science and innovation".

There are certainly some problems with our food and farming sector, but not because its methods are based on a "museum of agriculture". British consumers want food produced with high welfare standards for livestock and for the countryside and wildlife to be protected by farmers.

None of that will be delivered by opening up Britain to U.S. agriculture.

The British people have had to swallow this state visit, even though tens of thousands demonstrated against President Trump when he was here last July.

But that doesn't mean he is welcome. There will be protests again because we know what a friend of Britain looks like. And it isn't Donald Trump.

Caroline Lucas is a Green Party MP. Twitter @CarolineLucas​

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.​​​​​

Trump Says He's a Friend to the U.K. That's a Lie | Opinion | Opinion