Like many people my heart sank when Donald Trump was unexpectedly elected President of the United States in November last year. He is a man who has shown in the months campaigning for the presidency and his first week in office that he is completely unsuited to one of the most powerful positions in the world. Trump campaigned on a platform of division and fear with racism and misogyny at its foundation, calling Mexicans “rapists and murderers”, openly bragging about sexually assaulting women and calling for a permanent ban on Muslims in America.
This record alone should have been more than enough for the Prime Minister to be hesitant in extending an invite for him to come to the UK, instead last week she bragged about being the first world leader to meet with Trump and eagerly invited him for a full state visit.
Hours later Trump signed an Executive Order indiscriminately banning immigrants from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Yemen and Syria. This ban in turn has created chaos at US airports, seen people in transit from these countries forcibly put back on planes or worse detained. This order has also impacted on dual citizens including British passport holders. I find it hard to believe that Theresa May was not notified about this by the US President in advance. I am similarly disappointed with the delayed response of the UK Government to register the whole country’s opposition to the Executive Order and to ensure every UK citizen has a right to enter America unaffected by these plans.
It is deeply embarrassing and shameful to find the Prime Minister pandering to Trump with a state trip at a time when British citizens such as Mo Farah and even some Members of Parliament have found themselves openly discriminated against by the US Government, due to where they were born.
While I understand the necessity for the Prime Minister to engage with the President of the United States, one of our oldest allies. I don’t see why he should be afforded a full state visit which would include meeting the Queen and addressing both Houses of Parliament, particularly so early into his presidency. Like many people I have signed the petition calling for the withdrawal of such an offer until a time when President Trump shows himself to be worthy of the office he holds and repeals this xenophobic and islamophobic Executive Order. I also joined yesterday evening with protestors outside Downing Street to register my concerns about the division President Trump is sowing and the need for the Prime Minister to rethink allowing him a state visit.
As your Member of Parliament I will continue to raise my opposition to President Trump’s disastrous and divisive policies in any way I can and that includes as an ordinary citizen attending protests and signing petitions too. It is clear that we are not living in normal times and this is not a normal President. The Government clearly needs to rethink its relationship not with America but with the Trump administration.