US & Canada

Trump's UK state visit: US media's verdict on first day

US President Donald Trump makes a speech as Queen Elizabeth II listens during a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace on3 June 2019 in London, England Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption President Trump speaks at the state banquet at Buckingham Palace

The pomp and pageantry of the first day of Donald Trump's state visit to the UK stole the headlines in US media, but as many outlets highlighted, it wasn't quite enough to hide the tension around the president's arrival.

Many contrasted the bluster of his Twitter outburst against London mayor Sadiq Khan, as he touched down at Stansted Airport, with his "seamless interactions" with the Queen and other senior royals at Buckingham Palace later in the day.

"President Trump mixed high-level diplomacy with schoolyard taunts," Fox News reported, in its write up of the first day.

For the New York Times, it was a reminder of the far-from-the-norm nature of Trump's presidency when it came to global diplomacy.

"The juxtaposition of high pageantry and low name-calling, on the first day of Mr Trump's state visit to Britain, captured yet again the odd swath that this president cuts on the world stage: impulsive and erratic, delighted by a lavish welcome but preoccupied by petty feuds or events back home," the paper reported.

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Media captionHere's what happened on day one of Donald Trump's state visit to the UK

According to the Washington Post, President Trump's "handling of the visit so far fits a pattern".

"He gives candid commentary before he travels abroad on a nation's political scene and stokes controversy that leaves officials bracing for chaos. But after he lands, he rarely uses the international stage to advance a discernible agenda or to wield his influence to shape world events."

More on Trump's state visit:

'Hint of tension' at the palace

CNN observed that the Queen "earned a rarely seen deference and respect from the often raucous American commander in chief", but noted this is "all but certain to be a temporary interlude" until politics take centre stage on Tuesday.

But the toasts at Monday evening's state dinner at the palace "carried an unmistakable hint of tension in the gilded Banquet Hall", the Los Angeles Times reported.

The paper highlighted the differences between the Queen and President Trump's speeches, with the former stressing the importance of post-war alliances "that many here and elsewhere in the Europe - and in the US - say Trump has seemed intent on weakening".

Meghan Markle controversy

CBS News highlighted the controversy in the days leading up the visit, when President Trump told the Sun newspaper that the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, was "nasty". He later denied making the comment, which was recorded on audio tape.

"The royals are masters of pomp but the circumstances this time around are rather unique. President Trump insulted his royal host just days before he arrived," CBS reported.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Prince Harry at the palace (2nd from right) chatting to the president's daughter, Ivanka

The Duchess of Sussex, an American and a former actress, publicly criticised Mr Trump before she was engaged to Prince Harry.

The International Business Times and Fox News both picked up reports in the Sun newspaper that Meghan's husband, Prince Harry, appeared to keep his distance from the American president.

UK 'not at ease'

Fox News noted that President Trump's arrival comes "at a precarious moment" for him and his host nation, amid calls for impeachment in the US and political turmoil in the UK over Brexit.

In an opinion piece for Politico, writer Alex Massie made the point that despite "the predictably sniffy anti-Trump response to the visit", President Trump has arrived "in a country very much not at ease with itself".

"The reality is that the United Kingdom today is in no position to scoff at other countries' political misadventures. Both nations are still reeling from a political storm that hit in 2016. But as the United States processes the unorthodox and disruptive presidency of Donald Trump, Britain has become increasingly paralysed - even broken - by the drama triggered by its vote to leave the European Union."

Trump misses Fox News

The Vox news website picked up on one of the president's tweets, in which he complained about the lack of access to his favoured US news outlet - the conservative cable channel Fox News.

He repeated his regular criticisms of CNN, which is widely available in the UK.

Vox speculated that the president's complaint seemed to be "immediate and personal: He just wants to watch Fox News. It'd make him feel better".

"That's quite the insight into the president: Ahead of big diplomatic engagements - in this case with the Queen and UK Prime Minister Theresa May, among others - Trump let the world know that all it takes to throw him off his game is to put CNN on TV and keep Fox News out of view."

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