A state visit from President Trump won't just cause uproar in Britain, it will be a royal pain, according to a former senior diplomat. In a letter to the Times of London and an interview with the BBC, former Foreign Office chief Lord Peter Ricketts argues that it was inappropriate for Prime Minister Theresa May to have arranged the invitation from Queen Elizabeth II. Ricketts says it is unprecedented for an American president to be invited for a state visit in their first year in office, and wonders whether the controversial leader really deserves this "exceptional honour." "It would have been far wiser to wait to see what sort of president he would turn out to be before advising the Queen to invite him," he writes. Now, Ricketts says, Elizabeth is put in a "very difficult position."
It appears the sentiment is taking hold: 10 Downing Street is now saying, rather vaguely, that Trump's visit is "months away," reports Sky News. More than 1.6 million people have signed a petition calling for the state visit, which usually involves a stay at Buckingham Palace, to be canceled because "it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty." On Monday, thousands of people protesting Trump's immigration order took to the streets of British cities and some opposition members of Parliament called for the visit to be scrapped, comparing Trump to the likes of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, the Guardian reports. "This man is not fit to walk in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela," said Labour MP Dennis Skinner. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, however, defended Trump, saying that America is a crucial ally and that Trump's "bark is considerably worse than his bite."